North Luzon Officials’ Meeting Tackles Plans to Protect Watersheds

Northern Dispatch
Posted by Bulatlat

BAGUIO CITY — In a bid to rescue the country’s major water resources, different line agencies, organizations and local government units (LGUs) from Regions I and II and the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) met during the North Luzon Inter-Regional Summit on Water Resources and Environment in this city, 246 kilometers north of Manila, last week.

Identifying the Cordilleras as the “Watershed Cradle of the North” and analyzing the state of the major river basins and watersheds in the said regions, the summit sought to come up with appropriate action plans.

Juan Ngalob, regional director of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA)-CAR, bared in his presentation the issues and concerns on water resources of the three regions based on earlier regional consultations. Among the issues and concerns discussed were watershed degradation, deteriorating water quality, water shortage, flooding, low funding priority for watershed management and lack of resources and capability for watershed management.

These concerns, he said, are due to various reasons such as pollution from mining and indiscriminate quarrying activities, water pollution from household, farm and industrial wastes, increasing siltation and sedimentation, forest denudation, and kaingin (slash-and-burn farming), among others.

As their output, the delegates from the three regions moved for area-based governance systems, wedge planning or interconnectivity of upland, lowland, and coastal resources as vital tools in their planning. The delegates also agreed on the need for coordination, integration and linkages among concerned sectors of the different regions in their actions.

North Luzon is home to several watersheds and many river basins including the five major river basins that supply most of the water and irrigation needs of the neighboring lowland areas.

Among the three regions comprising North Luzon, Cordillera is the biggest supplier of water in the region. Recognizing this and the help rich water resources offer to communities, the CAR delegates requested Regions I and II to adapt two resolutions being lobbied for by the CAR.

The Regional Development Council (RDC)-CAR proposes thru RDC Resolution No. 72 an increase of at least 10 percent in internal revenue allotments for LGUs having jurisdiction over watersheds. This resolution seeks to amend the provision of Republic Act No. 7160 (the Local Government Code) on LGU shares in the proceeds of national wealth taxes.

RDC Resolution No. 73 on the other hand proposes for the redefinition of host community such that upstream watershed communities and local government units will be included in the definition as co-hosts of hydroelectric and multipurpose dams. (Northern Dispatch / Posted by Bulatlat.comBulatlat)

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