CONVERGENCE FOR MAGAT WATERSHED. The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in Cagayan Valley initiated a meeting recently with the National Irrigation Administration-Magat River Integrated Irrigation System (NIA-MARIIS) and the Local Government Unit (LGU) of Ramon, Isabela as part of the Cagayan River Rehabilitation Program under the Build Back Better initiatives.
The Magat Watershed covering an area of about 414,300 hectares was proclaimed as a forest reservation under Proclamation No. 573 issued in June 1969. By virtue of Letter of Instruction 1002, the NIA was given the authority to manage, protect, develop, and rehabilitate the 15,000-hectare watershed area.
DENR Regional Executive Director Gwendolyn Bambalan said she called for the meeting to discuss the status of the Magat Watershed and to identify convergence area to be prioritized for watershed development this year by the DENR, NIA and concerned LGUs.
“As ordered by Secretary Roy Cimatu, we have to do something to minimize the effect and to lessen the damage during calamities. Tulong-tulong po tayo. Let us put our efforts together,” Director Bambalan said.
She reported the ongoing dredging of sandbars along the Cagayan River in Lal-lo and Gattaran towns in Cagayan province and the bamboo planting along the riverbanks.
During the meeting, Manager Carlo Ablan of Dam and Reservoir Division requested assistance of the DENR to address forest protection concerns.
“We do not have police power against timber poaching. We need support dahil kokonti ang aming forest caretakers to cover those areas,” Ablan said.
Director Bambalan committed support as she instructed the DENR officials in Isabela province to strengthen the anti-illegal logging task force at the provincial, municipal and barangay levels.
To come up with one common map to facilitate planning and decision making, a mapping workshop for the DENR, NIA-MARIIS and LGU will be conducted.
Joining Director Bambalan in the meeting were Assistant Regional Director Marcos Dacanay, PENR Officer Marlon Agnar, CENR Officer Felix Ganapin and Conservation and Development Division Chief Enrique Pasion. For. Rodrigo Olimon of NIA, and Engr. Rogelio Rotoni and Atty. Ferdinand Garcia of LGU Ramon were also present.#