Press Releases

 

After the multi-sectoral convergence meeting for Magat watershed governance conducted in November last year, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and National Irrigation Administration (NIA) met yesterday to set institutional arrangement among concerned government and private stakeholders for the rehabilitation and management of Magat Watershed.

At the NIA Command Center in Diliman Quezon City, NIA Acting Administrator Eddie Guillen, DENR Cagayan Valley Regional Executive Director Gwendolyn Bambalan, Acting Municipal Environment and Natural Resources Officer Sotivo Pagulayan III of local government unit (LGU) Ramon, Isabela and other officials of the two agencies and local government discussed the plans of NIA Magat River Integrated Irrigation System (MARIIS) and DENR to further improve the management of Magat Watershed.

With an area covering about 414,300 hectares, the Magat Watershed was declared Forest Reservation Area by virtue of Presidential Proclamation No. 573 on June 26, 1969. A Letter of Instruction (LOI) No. 1002, s. 1980 was also issued authorizing the NIA to manage, protect, develop, and rehabilitate the 15,000-hectare watershed area.

During the meeting, RED Bambalan raised development issues concerning the protection of said watershed. “Considering the huge area of the watershed, collaboration and partnership among agencies and local government units is important to enlist stakeholders' functions and responsibilities and ensure sustainability of the reservoir and protection of the watershed,” RED Bambalan emphasized.

The regional environment chief requested for the status of the 15,000 hectares, part of the watershed directly draining to the reservoir, and clarified that per LOI issued, the NIA is entrusted to manage and protect the said area.

The lady director also told the new administrator about the proposed regional Memorandum of Agreement (MOA ) between and among the NIA, DENR and LGU Ramon per agreement during the convergence meeting. This aims to update previous agreements and incorporate the stakeholders’ roles and mandates to ensure a holistic environmental and climate-responsive partnership.

“Revisiting the existing MOA signed between DENR and NIA in 2019 relative on the management and development of all critical watersheds will espouse stronger collaboration and partnership among government agencies and institutions,” the regional environment chief appealed adding the 15,000 hectares Magat watershed areas as focus in the execution of the MOA.

The management scheme on coverage of NIA and National Power Corporation on area awarded indicated in the LOI were discussed. She requested the commitment of NIA as to the management of said areas to be defined in the MOA.

Meanwhile, Engr. Guillen sees the potential of agro-forestry and eco-tourism projects that would provide sustainable source of income to the local communities within the watershed area. He suggested to plant fruit-bearing trees with market value in the area as additional source of food and income for the people.

“We strengthen the partnership of NIA with national and local government, private sector, non-government organizations, Irrigators Associations, and the public towards the success of this endeavor,” the irrigation top official underscored.

In the meeting, Conservation Development Division Chief Enrique Pasion presented developmental projects of the Department within the watershed area and other critical watersheds supporting NIA irrigation facilities such as Enhanced National Greening Program, Forestland Management Project, Build Back Better Task Force, and Forest Protection.

He included the operationalization of the Cagayan River Basin wherein one of its accomplishments was the newly passed Regional Development Council Resolution No. 02-05 s. 2022 entitled "Adopting the Proposed Measures to address the use of herbicide in Upland Corn Farming," duly approved by RDC Chairperson and Isabela Governor Rodito Albano III.

He also presented the result of comparative analysis of land cover change within the Magat watershed using the land cover map of NAMRIA from Calendar Years 2010, 2015 and 2020.

CENR Officer Edmundo Malupeng presented the result of the conducted assessment within Magat watershed particularly on activities undertaken by some occupants including the inventory of fish cages and operators within the reservoir, while For. Jose Bueno Jr. of the CDD presented the result of water quality monitoring within the magat reservoir conducted by the EMB R2 last November.

The meeting was also attended by NIA Deputy Administrator for Engineering and Operations Sector C’zar Sulaik, MARIIS Department Manager Gileu Michael Dimoloy, MARIIS Dam and Reservoir Division Manager Carlo Ablan, NIA Central Office Department Managers, and other DENR officials.

In order to fully discuss the watershed implementation plan, a Regional DENR-NIA Meeting is scheduled on Feb. 9, this year, in Ramon town to include the LGU and Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Region 2.

The meeting aims to determine the respective responsibilities of each agency or organization that will be incorporated in the joint Memorandum of Agreement to be signed by concerned parties.#

 
 
In its commitment to adopt a climate-proofed environment, the United Architect of the Philippines (UAP) Manila and Nueva Vizcaya Chapters in collaboration with the Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) Dupax of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) recently conducted a tree planting activity within the Dupax Watershed Forest Reserve (DWFR) in Nueva Vizcaya province.
 
 
With the theme “Tulong Tayo Project KALIKHASAN”, the group of architects planted 700 Narra seedlings along the footpath trail going to Mount San Vicente, a majestic viewpoint of vast forest cover within the park.
 
“We in the DENR are grateful and appreciative of your efforts to help in developing and preserving nature in this area,” CENR Officer Bernardino Aganon said to the 39 delegates during the opening program on Jan. 13, this year.
 
Meanwhile, municipal executive secretary Bernabe Almirol of the Local Government Unit (LGU) of Dupax Del Sur said, “You will be making a great share of additional supply of water from the trees you are going to plant in our area for future generation.”
 
Prior to the tree planting, the delegates of the two-day event learned the different environmental laws being implemented within the protected area.
 
For. June Lazaro, DWFR Protected Area Superintendent (PASu), discussed the Salient Features of Republic Act (RA) No. 7586 or the National Integrated Protected Areas System (NIPAS) Act of 1992 as amended by RA No. 11038 or the Expanded NIPAS.
 
In his virtual message, Architect Donato Magcale, UAP Vice President for Area A, appreciated the effort and participation of the group in said environmentally-responsive activity. “Thank you for your environmental stewardship, for sharing the importance of our responsibility and commitment in measuring our social, environmental, and sustainability efforts,” he added.
 
The UAP has also expressed willingness to a more intense partnership in the future with the DENR PENR Office to heighten its advocacy on environment and reforestation programs.#
 
In an endeavor to heighten the country's 'Save our Watershed' campaign, the implementation of the Forestland Management Project (FMP) in the Cagayan Valley has gained improved watersheds and infrastructure facilities.
 
In her message during the opening of the CY 2022 Year-end Assessment cum Policy Workshop today, Regional Executive Director (RED) Gwendolyn Bambalan of DENR Cagayan Valley enumerated the accomplishments of the project which aimed at strengthening the region's forestlands particularly in the provinces of Nueva Vizcaya and Quirino.
 
With the implementation of Agroforestry Support Facilities, the region officially turned over 37 completed infrastructures to the local government units and partner Peoples Organizations (POs) such as access roads, tire paths, bridges, and irrigation pipeline systems.
 
Under the comprehensive site development component, the community resource management frameworks and community management plans of the 45 POs were affirmed while three integrated watershed management plans were approved.
 
More than 91,000 hectares of forest and agroforestry plantations were established in the said provinces.
 
A total of 2,488 PO members were trained with technical and managerial support to enhance their living condition as partners in watershed rehabilitation that ultimately increase the region's forest cover.
 
The Ganano River Sub-Watershed Management Committee in Quirino province and Nueva Vizcaya Watershed Management Council were institutionalized which are contributing factors in maintaining the PO while they formulate their own community programs.
 
In support of the project implementation, the region also initiated the search for best FMP forest plantation where a hectare of land is established in each of the eight sub-watershed areas.
 
The best forest plantation demonstration areas were awarded to sub-watershed areas of Upper-Matuno, first; Manga, 2nd; and Benay, 3rd; all in Nueva Vizcaya.
 
"We aim to showcase different silvicultural practices to serve as model to our partner POs and promote high level of consciousness on the importance of saving the watersheds," Director Bambalan said.
 
She also said the region recently secured the support of the Regional Development Council chaired by Isabela Governor Rodito Albano III, passing a resolution adopting the proposed measures to address the destructive use of herbicides specifically glyphosate in upland corn farming. The said move seeks to prevent soil erosion and landslides, thus, will improve the forests vegetation cover.
 
"Our efforts in saving our watersheds do not end here. This is just the beginning of our life long vision to sustain a clean, healthy and climate-resilient environment," added the regional environment chief.
 
Meanwhile, DENR Assistant Secretary Marcial Amaro Jr. who represented Undersecretary Jonas Lleones, emphasized the individual and collective roles of project implementers in the regional and field implementing units as the project nears its closure in July, this year.
 
"We are all together in this challenging time. Let us still continue working with our POs to ensure the gains and sustainability of the project," ASec. Amaro Jr. said.
 
The ASec. for Policy, Planning and Foreign and Assisted Special Project (PPFASP) also emphasized the recommendation of policies based from the 10-year implementation of the FMP. "As we transition to the end phase of the project, we have to account all activities we have done and improve our policy development system," he added as he thanked the group for its support to the project.
 
The FMP, a 10-year project started in 2012 funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency, is implemented in three critical river basins of the country namely; Upper Magat and Cagayan River Basins in the provinces of Ifugao in Cordillera Administrative Region and Nueva Vizcaya and Quirino in R2; Upper Pampanga River Basin in Nueva Ecija in R3; and Jalaur River Basin in Iloilo in R6.
 
The three-day event aims to discuss among the key project implementers the remaining activities to be done. It is also being actively participated by RED Ralph Pablo of CAR, RED Livino Duran and Assistant Regional Director Ivene Reyes of R6, Forest Management Bureau (FMB) OIC, Assistant Director Edna Nuestro, other officials of the PPFASP, FMB and Central Project Management Office, and concerned PENR Officers and officials in the four regional and field implementing units.#
 
Regional Executive Director Gwendolyn Bambalan of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources Cagayan Valley meets regional key officials to set directions and plan for better strategies to implement priority programs for 2023 in the five provinces of the region.
 
"I appeal for everybody’s support as we are again to implement environmental programs for 2023," said RED Bambalan.
 
In the 1st Expanded Executive Committee Meeting held yesterday, Director Bambalan discussed management concerns such as the conduct of search for best DENR office. She underscored the importance of improving the office operations through satisfying the needs of the public when it comes to availing government goods and services.
 
“As we aim for excellence, we have to keep on improving our services and that must start on us government workers. The best DENR office awards will inspire every public servant to exert more efforts toward gaining integrity and respect from the transacting public,” said the regional environment chief.
 
The region's work and financial plan for 2023; and other administrative concerns such as status of promotion and selection process, renewal of contract of services; and review of the requirements of early procurement process were also discussed.
 
In the consultation meetings among the key officials of the provincial environment and natural resources offices, Dir. Bambalan solicited suggestions and recommendations for the challenges they encountered last year to excel more in the performance of their duties and responsibilities this year.
 
The preparation for this year's closing of the 10-year Forestland Management Project implemented in Nueva Vizcaya and Quirino provinces was also tackled.
 
As one of her remarkable policy principles, the regional environment chief reminded the importance of preparing an implementation plan (ImPlan) in accomplishing the targets. "The implan serves as our chart, guide and reference to achieve our goals in the Department," she said adding that a CENRO implan can be broken down to different action plans.
 
She underscored the importance of planning, monitoring and evaluation of the activities to ensure excellent delivery of services.
 
The field officials were instructed to improve the processing and issuance of patents and implementation of national greening program activities.
 
According to the RED, the geospatial mapping database must be enhanced as she emphasized to incorporate science and adopt climate risk lens in planning and decision-making and in acting on requests submitted by clients.
 
As biodiversity conservation measure, Director Bambalan said wildlife enforcement officers must be deputized to help in the conservation of wildlife and wildlife resources.
 
After the successful completion of online job portal system, the region is underway on its online database management systems for Individual, Divisons and Office Performance Commitment Review; and Administrative Confiscation Proceedings.
 
The regional and field offices were encouraged to brace these digitization initiatives to improve DENR office' operations.
 
The regional environment chief instructed field personnel to extend technical assistance to people’s organizations, local government units and other partner stakeholders.
 
She also reminded the employees to always aim for excellent and competent performance. “Let us upscale our competencies and institute initiatives beyond our targeted activities,” she said.#
 
Undersecretary for Policy, Planning and International Affairs Jonas Leones of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) urges Region 2 officials to be environmental change-maker advocates to further improve management of the forests and the environment.
 
“In order to fight the adverse impact of climate change, we must improve our ability to influence for a change among our audiences and stakeholders in supporting the priority programs of the DENR,” the environment undersecretary emphasized during the 4th quarter regional management conference on Dec. 18-20, this year at the Cocina ni Sophia, Cauayan City, Isabela.
 
He added the conference’ theme “New Normal Challenge: Sustainable Actions for Sustainable Future through ENR Science-Based Management,” was timely and connotes the DENR’s goal to be more proactive in the application of new technologies in climate change risks and reduction management.
 
The environment official commended the region for consistently being one of the recipients of the best Alternative Dispute Resolution Officers and Pool of ADR Officers awards. Your duties do not only limit in the protection of the environment but also extend to being facilitators of land claims and conflicts,” Atty. Leones underscored.
 
He also praised DENR Cagayan Valley being one of the KLIMA-likasan awardees for its collaborative efforts with the provincial local government unit (PLGU) of Cagayan to restore the Cagayan River and address the perennial issue of flooding in the province. He noted for the region's strong collaboration with LGUs and other stakeholders specifically on intensified information, education and communication campaign of the Department.
 
“I am also impressed by the number of partnerships and collaborations with mining companies, LGUs and other stakeholders to establish additional reforestation areas while tapping peoples organizations in the communities to maintain and protect the plantations. Through this, better livelihood and additional income await the people in the community as a result,” USec Leones said.
 
The environment undersecretary also encouraged key officials to serve as model and inspiration to others to produce empowered employees for them to excellently deliver functions toward a better environmental program implementation.#