(SALUTATIONS)

CLIMATE CHANGE GREATLY CONTRIBUTES TO WATERSHED DEGRADATION, // WHILE HUMAN ACTIVITIES ARE STILL LARGELY CONNECTED TO THE HEALTH // OF THE COUNTRY’S WATERSHEDS.

THERE ARE MORE THAN 130 CRITICAL WATERSHEDS IN THE COUNTRY // THAT DESPERATELY NEED IMMEDIATE PROTECTION AND REHABILITATION // TO MINIMIZE EROSION // AND IMPROVE WATER YIELD. //

IF WE CAN DO THAT AND FAST, // THESE CRITICAL WATERSHEDS WILL CONTINUE TO PROVIDE BENEFITS // THAT WILL SUPPORT OUR OVERALL ECONOMIC // AND ECOLOGICAL WELL-BEING AS A NATION. //

LET US BE CONSTANTLY REMINDED // THAT APPROPRIATE STEWARDSHIP IS NEEDED IN OUR WATERSHEDS // FOR US TO MITIGATE THE ADVERSE IMPACTS OF CLIMATE CHANGE-INDUCED DISASTERS. // PEOPLE’S SUPPORT TO GOVERNMENT ACTIONS, // THEREFORE, // IS STILL THE KEY. //

IT IS ON THIS PREMISE THAT THE DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES // IS LAUNCHING TODAY A NATIONAL CAMPAIGN TO “SAVE OUR WATERSHED” // AS A PLATFORM TO ENCOURAGE PARTNERSHIPS AND COLLABORATIONS FOR THIS CAUSE. //

SPEARHEADED BY THE FOREST MANAGEMENT BUREAU, // THIS CAMPAIGN TAKES OFF FROM THE JICA-ASSISTED FORESTLAND MANAGEMENT PROJECT OR F-M-P, // A 10-YEAR WATERSHED REHABILITATION PROJECT // THAT AIMS TO STRENGTHEN FORESTLAND MANAGEMENT THROUGH COLLABORATIVE, // HOLISTIC, // COMPREHENSIVE, // AND SUSTAINABLE FORESTLAND MANAGEMENT STRATEGIES. //

PRIMARILY, // THE CAMPAIGN SEEKS TO ORGANIZE, // CONVENE, // AND ENABLE THE KEY STAKEHOLDERS OF THE WATERSHED GOVERNING BODIES // TO FORGE FORMAL DECLARATIONS OF COMMITMENT // AND PARTNERSHIPS TOWARDS SOUND WATERSHED MANAGEMENT AND GOVERNANCE, // AND SUSTAINABLY PRESERVE THE INVESTMENTS OF VARIOUS WATERSHED INITIATIVES OF THE GOVERNMENT, // THE PRIVATE SECTOR, // AND OTHER SUPPORT INSTITUTIONS. //

THE CAMPAIGN, // REFLECTING ON THE LESSONS LEARNED FROM THE FORESTLAND MANAGEMENT PROJECT, // IS ENVISIONED TO BE EMULATED AND REPLICATED // IN OTHER REGIONS AND PROVINCES. // WE HOPE THAT THE SPIRIT OF THE SAVE OUR WATERSHED CAMPAIGN RIPPLES THROUGH TO ALL DENR REGION OFFICES, // FOREIGN-ASSISTED PROJECTS, // AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT UNITS WITH INITIATIVES ON WATERSHED CONSERVATION. //

AS THE DENR’S FIRST STEP IN PRIMING THIS INITIATIVE, // WE ARE NOW FORMULATING THE NATIONAL DIRECTIVE // IN THE FORM OF AN EXECUTIVE ORDER // WHICH WE WILL ENDORSE FOR THE PRESIDENT’S APPROVAL. //

THIS WILL PAVE THE WAY FOR THE ESTABLISHMENT OF INSTITUTIONAL MECHANISMS FOR THE COLLABORATIVE // AND WHOLE-OF-SOCIETY EFFORTS // IN CONSERVING OUR WATERSHEDS. //

THUS, // WE ARE HOLDING CLOSE OUR SUCCESSES AND EXPERIENCES // IN IMPLEMENTING VARIOUS WATERSHED REHABILITATION PROGRAMS AND PROJECTS, // SUCH AS THE FORESTLAND MANAGEMENT PROJECT, // THE NATIONAL GREENING PROGRAM, // THE INTEGRATED NATURAL RESOURCES AND ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT PROJECT, // BUILD BACK BETTER, // AND OTHER LOCAL GOVERNMENT INITIATIVES. //

WE HOPE TO HAVE POLICIES AND REGULATIONS // THAT WILL BE SET IN PLACE // AND WILL BE ENFORCED AND OPERATIONALIZED// BASED ON THE PRINCIPLES OF TRANSPARENT, // PARTICIPATORY,// AND COLLABORATIVE WATERSHED MANAGEMENT. //

I WOULD LIKE TO THANK OUR OFFICIAL DEVELOPMENT ASSISTANCE PARTNERS, // THE JAPAN INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION AGENCY, // ASIAN DEVELOPMENT BANK, // OUR PROVINCIAL GOVERNORS, // AND MUNICIPAL MAYORS, // WHO HAVE FACILITATED THE ORGANIZATION OF THE WATERSHED MANAGEMENT COUNCILS. // YOU ARE ALREADY SO MUCH A PART OF THIS CAMPAIGN. //

I ALSO WOULD LIKE TO THANK OUR PARTNERS // FOR IMPLEMENTING PROJECTS FOR WATERSHED REHABILITATION, // WHICH INCLUDE PEOPLE’S ORGANIZATIONS, // NON-GOVERNMENT ORGANIZATIONS, // AND THE PRIVATE SECTOR // THAT HAVE BEEN SUPPORTING US IN OUR PROGRAMS // AND WHOSE ACTIVITIES CONTRIBUTE MUCH TO WATERSHED REHABILITATION. //

SOON, // WE HOPE TO SEE YOUR RESPECTIVE WATERSHED MANAGEMENT COUNCILS CONVENED // AND BECOME DYNAMIC BODIES, // AT THE FOREFRONT OF WATERSHED MANAGEMENT AND GOVERNANCE. // MAY YOUR RESPECTIVE AREAS BECOME THE MODELS OF NATIONAL WATERSHED INITIATIVES. //

SAVING WATERSHEDS IS SAVING LIVES. // SAVE OUR WATERSHEDS! // SAPAGKAT IKAW, // AKO, // TAYO ANG KALIKASAN! //

MARAMING SALAMAT PO, AT MABUHAY!