Environment office calls for support for rehab project-A A +A
Monday, October 22, 2012
THE Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in Northern Mindanao is asking the support of environmentalist groups to implement its plan of rehabilitating at least 18,500 hectares of grasslands and cultivated areas within the Cagayan de Oro watershed.
Raoul Geollegue, former DENR regional director, sounded the call as he enjoined private companies, different agencies, and civil societies during a recent dialogue with environmental group Sulog and regional directors of DENR, Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) and Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB).
Geollegue presented the Cagayan de Oro River Basin Integrated Rehabilitation Framework Plan during the dialogue.
The rehabilitation project needs around P227 million to put up the requirement.
Geollegue, who is also a member of Sulog, said that after the conduct of erosion hazard and vulnerability assessment at the Cagayan de Oro River Basin subwatersheds, it was found out that Batang and Bubunawan watershed tributaries were listed as priority areas, as validated by images showing vast expanse of blighted lands.
“Though it would take more than 25 years to establish a multi-storey forest plantation, the plan pushes along the installation of trap canals and cultivation of slope lands in priority watershed areas to prevent risk of flooding,” he said.
He added that some portions of the watersheds are partly cultivated, in complete disregard of soil and water conservation system.
The framework plan was prepared by the DENR-Northern Mindanao with technical assistance from Enterprise Works Worldwide Philippines Inc. (EWWP) under the auspices of the Bukidnon Watershed River Basin Forum Follow through Committee (BWRBFFTC) and the Cagayan de Oro River Basin Management Council (CDORBMC).
Orlando Ravanera, Sulog chair and regional director of the Cooperative Development Authority, said the group is willing to support the project.
However, he challenged the DENR to immediately solve the unabated illegal mining in the hinterland barangays of Cagayan de Oro and Iponan River that are along the watershed areas.
Newly installed DENR-Northern Mindanao Regional Director Ruth Tawantawan vowed to address environmental issues, especially illegal mining, along Iponan River and in the watersheds of Cagayan de Oro.
Tawantawan recently ordered the EMB to check and cancel the quarrying permits issued to 20 concessionaries in Iponan who are allegedly using it as front for mining activities.
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on October 23, 2012.