DENR names 2 river systems as water quality management areas

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has designated two river systems with important cultural heritage value as water quality management areas (WQMAs), a move that is expected to boost the tourism industry in the cities of Baguio and Naga.

By virtue of two separate administrative orders signed by Environment Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje on April 18, the Bued River System in Northern Luzon and the Naga River in Camarines Sur have been added to the list of WQMAs now numbering 23.

Paje said that securing the integrity of the two river systems not only ensures the sustainable supply of water for areas the two rivers traverse, but will also “boost the local tourism in these places known for their rich cultural and historical heritage.”

“Ensuring the water quality of Naga River will help enhance the city as a tourist destination, since it is home of the Peñafrancia fluvial procession,” the environment chief said.

He also noted that the preservation of Bued River will safeguard the image of Kennon Road, one of the vital roads that connect Baguio City and the towns of Tuba and Itogon in Benguet province, which are major tourist destinations in the north.

A major source of water for agriculture and aquaculture, Bued River runs through 25 barangays in Baguio City and the municipalities of Itogon and Tuba in Benguet before it drains toward Rosario town in La Union, and the municipalities of Sison, San Fabian, San Jacinto and Mangaldan in Pangasinan via the historic 30-km Kennon Road.

According to Paje, the designation of Naga River as WQMA will pave the way for the proposed Naga River Watershed, which covers some 7,686 hectares of drainage area spanning 25 barangays in Naga City and two others in Pili town.

Paje said the WQMA designation aims to beef up the protection initiatives of the Naga River Development Council and in support of the Naga River Revitalization Project.

Under the Clean Water Act, the DENR, in coordination with the National Water Resources Board, is mandated to designate certain areas as WQMAs using appropriate physiographic units such as watershed, river basins, or water resources regions to effectively enforce its provisions and improve the water quality of water bodies.

The law seeks to provide a decentralized management system for water quality protection and improvement of river systems.

Likewise, the DENR is tasked to create a governing board for each WQMA, which is chaired by a regional director of the DENR’s Environmental Management Bureau (EMB). Its members include the mayor and governor of the concerned local government unit and representatives of relevant national government agencies, duly registered non-government organizations, and business and water utility sectors.

The governing board serves as a planning, monitoring and coordinating body. It also reviews the WQMA action plan prepared by the EMB.

The DENR and the stakeholders address the water quality problems, sources of pollution, and the beneficial use of the receiving water body. They also determine what control measures to institute to effectively achieve water quality objectives or improvements. ### 

 

DENR, FPE lead media awards to honor outstanding envi journos

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has partnered with the Foundation for the Philippine Environment (FPE) and three other organizations for the second Sarihay Media Awards aimed to recognize journalists for excellence in covering environment stories.

The partnership was sealed through a memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed recently by the DENR, FPE, Philippine Tropical Forest Conservation Foundation, Tanggol Kalikasan and the Miriam College Environmental Institute.

Representatives from these organizations will comprise the Technical Review committee tasked to oversee the event and acknowledge outstanding environmental media practitioners who “promote the preservation of Mother Earth and the protection of mankind through responsible and fearless news reporting on print, TV, radio and internet.”

Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje said the DENR and fellow organizers of the Sarihay Media Awards want to give due recognition to media practitioners, who through their exemplary work, place environment and sustainable development issues at the forefront of news stories.

“These men and women are game-changers and the Sarihay Media Awards confirm their invaluable contribution as stewards of God’s creation,” Paje said, acknowledging media’s role in the pursuit of DENR’s mandates.

“Media have boosted my department’s thrust and advocacies, part of which is to shift the citizenry’s mindset to being co-responsible for the protection of our environment,” he said.

Lawyer Marina Rabe, executive director of Tanggol Kalikasan, said the awards hopes to encourage more writers, reporters and bloggers “to continue bringing the often overlooked environmental protection and biodiversity conservation issues to the attention of the government, decision-makers and the public to raise awareness and understanding on these concerns.”

FPE executive director Godofredo Villapando Jr. urged all Filipino media practitioners and bloggers to submit their entries on environmental issues published, aired or posted from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2015 to qualify for the competition. A total of 15 awards will be handed out during the awarding ceremony to be held in June.

“We encourage journalists to send in their stories and documentaries. This year, we are expecting more entries of truly inspiring and compelling materials,” Villapando said.

He added: “We envision the Sarihay to be the highest showcase for environmental journalists and broadcasters.”

Winners will each receive a plaque, cash prize and an exposure trip to an FPE-supported project area.

FPE is a non-profit organization working with the government, private sector, and civil society towards effective biodiversity conservation and sustainable development. Through its grants and programs across the country, it envisions communities caring responsibly and living fully in harmony with their environment.

For more details about the 2nd Sarihay Media Awards, those interested may contact the Secretariat at 927-21-86, 926-96-29, and mobile # 0916-313-97-94, log on to fpe.ph or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . ###

 

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