DENR backs creation of Chico River Basin Dev’t Authority

THE Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) is positive that the creation of the Chico River Basin Development Authority will significantly contribute in the management and development of the Chico River.

DENR-Cordillera Regional Director Engineer Ralph Pablo expressed support on the proposed House Bill 381 or the act seeking for the creation of the Chico River Basin Development Authority during a Technical Working Group meeting with the Committee on Government Enterprises and Privatization at the House of Representatives on April 5.

Pablo noted the ecological, historical, economic, and tourism value of the Chico River which is among the primary river systems not only in the Cordilleras but in the entire Philippines.

“Acknowledging all the benefits provided by the major river system (Chico River) and environmental problems that pose threats to it, we, at the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, find it necessary to establish a body which shall plan, formulate, implement, monitor and evaluate programs, projects and activities that promote sustainable development of the Chico River,” Pablo stressed in his position paper.

The Chico River Basin Development Authority is eyed to be an autonomous body which will plan, formulate, implement, oversee and evaluate self-initiated, multi-sectorial and sponsored programs, projects and activities in the Chico River.

It will also recommend to the Office of the President and Congress of the Philippines related matters that necessitate executive directives and congressional legislation.

During the meeting, Pablo sought clarification on Section 19 of the proposed measure which states “...the authority shall operate as an independent corporation” which will be under the supervision of the DENR.

The body is intended to be under the Office of the President and also under the supervision of the DENR. But with the query, the matter shall be corrected or clarified in the bill.

The regional director also highlighted the fact that the body will be appropriated funds under the General Appropriations Act.

Pablo said such will be advantageous as the authority will have funds to utilize for development programs, projects and activities and hopes the operations of the body will not be limited to funds appropriated for it.

The House Bill 381 was principally authored by Kalinga Representative Allen Jesse Mangaoang. At present the bill was referred to the Committee on Government Enterprises and Privatization for review. (PR)
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