Gov. Diasen Endorses Chico River Master Plan
By GERRY DONAAL
The final draft of the Chico River Watershed Development Master plan got the backing of Governor Floydelia Diasen during a consultation conducted here at Tabuk last September 5, 2007 by the Regional Technical Working Group.
Said consultation was called purposely to validate the draft before it is finally submitted to the Regional Development Council (RDC) for review and approval.
In her message, Governor Diasen emphasized the vital role of the Chico River to the agricultural development of the province even as she called for the dredging of the river particularly along lower Tabuk to address the yearly flooding of farm lands and residential houses in the area. The message of the governor inspired the participants who at the end of the consultation endorsed the same for adoption.
The Chico River Watershed was proclaimed on June 26, 1969 by virtue of Proclamation No. 573 by then President Ferdinand E. Marcos with an estimated area of 404,685.32 hectares. The watershed straddles on four provinces in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), covering in whole or in part, all the eight municipalities of Kalinga province, eight of the ten municipalities of Mt. Province, two municipalities of Ifugao province and one municipality of Apayao province.
The Chico River originates from its headwaters in Mt. Data, Bauko, Mt. Province and empties into the Cagayan River in Region 2. Ten of its major tributaries are located in Mt. Province and four are located in Kalinga.
The master plan is strategic in nature focusing on the identified key areas of concerns to be implemented within a span of 10 years with a budget estimate of Php 5.5 billion covering the eight (8) major program components. These programs aim to provide a broader and effective means of managing, developing, improving and rehabilitating the Chico River Watershed and hope to obtain maximum environmental benefits and sustained economic growth. These programs are as follows:
The Water Source Protection Program aims to resolve the issue on the decreasing volume of water in the main river channel and also addresses the concern on unprotected water sources in the watershed.
Biodiversity Enhancement and Forest rehabilitation and Development Program that seeks to balance the management of the watershed with respect to resource use and regeneration in order to sustain watershed functions.
Water Quality Improvement Program that focuses on the improvement of water quality in the watershed through reduction of waste generation, consistent implementation of laws and ordinances, advocacy and IEC.
River Siltation Prevention Program is directed towards the reduction of the accumulation of silts and sediments in the river beds which result to erosion, landslides and flooding.
Resource-Based Livelihood Program to provide additional income sources within the communities covered and as alternate interventions to slash and burn farming.
Geographic Information System Mapping which will serve as the backbone of the watershed information system that integrates existing information from various agencies as well as primary data from the ground.
Research Agenda Program that shall be undertaken for each major program identified to address the issues and concerns that affect the communities.
Legislative and Policy Agenda Program to harmonize existing polices, rules and regulations regarding resource management within the watershed among agencies and stakeholders.
Also contained in the draft is the creation of the Chico River Watershed Development and Management Commission not only as a policy making body but with a mandate to perform coordinative, regulatory and development functions in the overall management of the watershed. The Commission shall be chaired by the Secretary of the DENR and co-chaired by the Secretary of the DILG with the Governors of Kalinga and Mt. Province as Vice Chairmen. Members shall be chosen from among the heads of line agencies, educational institutions and non-government organizations.
A Project Management Office shall also be established headed by a Project Director to oversee and undertake administrative and operational requirements and activities on the implementation of the plan.
According to the Regional TWG headed by Mr. Francis Basali of DENR-CAR the master plan is now on its final editing incorporating therein the comments and suggestions generated during the consultations.
Tags: Tabuk , Kalinga , KASC
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.