A DAVAO City-based environmental group condemns anew the unlawful dumping of garbage at a critical watershed.
The Interfacing Development Interventions for Sustainability (Idis) Inc. in their Facebook post on Thursday, January 11, 2024, said that dumping of garbage at the Panigan-Tamugan Watershed is not only harmful to the environment but also to all of the Dabawenyos.
The Davao City Bulk Water Supply Project (DCBWSP) has been extracting water from the Panigan-Tamugan River and supplies it to DCWD, which, in turn, distributes it to every household in Davao.
On January 9, 2024, the Apo Agua Infrastructura, Inc. together with the Davao City Water District (DCWD) announced before the 20th City Council that the DCBWSP has been operational since December 1, 2024.
The garbage that was found by Idis and several Bantay Bukid volunteers was along the Panigan River which is a tributary to the Tamugan River where the intake facility of Apo Agua is located and where they harvest water for the bulk water project.
The garbage that is dumped may critically affect the water that is flowing in the rivers of Tamugan and Panigan.
“Waste pollution is a major threat to Panigan-Tamugan watershed’s pristine and high-quality water supply. It is disheartening to witness individuals or entities in activities that undermine the efforts to preserve and protect this invaluable natural resource,” Idis wrote in their caption.
Idis then encourages Dabawenyos, particularly vloggers, bloggers, and social media influencers to refrain from going to several protected areas in the city for recreational purposes. They also urge the same not to promote certain areas in the city without conducting research on the laws or ordinances protecting it.
“We have zones delineated for strict protection in which access and activities are restricted, in this case, it’s now the source for drinking water, bawal na ligo-ligo-an o tukuran og resort [recreational activities are no longer allowed as well as putting up resorts],” Idis Program Coordinator EnP. Lemuel Manalo said.
They urge the City Environment and Natural Resources Office (Cenro ) to step up its information drive and education campaigns that highlight the value of proper waste management and environmental preservation.
Apart from this, Idis also wants the officials of Barangay Tawantawan and Carmen to increase their surveillance and security measures to prevent further damage in the area. They also asked the City Government of Davao to sternly uphold the current regulations designed to safeguard this vital water source such as the Ordinance Regulating Recreational Activities within the Watershed Areas of Davao City for the Protection, Conservation, and Preservation of the Natural Environment; Zoning Ordinance, and the Watershed Code.
“Sustaining our natural resources is a shared responsibility between the people, government, and other stakeholders,” Idis said.
Meanwhile, May Che Capili, spokesperson of Apo Agua, said during the ISpeak Media Forum on January 11, 2024, at the City Mayor's Office that one of the biggest challenges that they are facing in the Watershed Management Council is the garbage. She added that people are still allowed to swim in the Panigan-Tamugan River but must refrain from bringing single-use plastic and cutting off trees.
“With Bantay Bukid and naa tay mga cooperatives sa area to have the riverbank rehabilitation. Let's protect our watershed especially our river which is the source of our drinking water (With Bantay Bukid and other cooperatives in the area [we are conducting] riverbank rehabilitation. Let's protect our watershed especially our river which is the source of drinking water),” Capili said.
On January 3, 2024, Idis raised concern over the influx of Dabawenyos at the Panigan-Tamugan River in Barangay Carmen. The Bantay Bukid in the area said that despite the restrictions, a lot of people visited the river and left behind different kinds of trash, such as plastics, liquor bottles, and cigarette butts. RGP