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PIA Press Release

Watershed body proposes private initiative in Maasin reforestation

Iloilo City (4 April) -- The Iloilo Watershed Management Council (IWMC) is mulling the idea of "commissioning" non-government or a private group to take the initiative of taking care of the watershed areas, especially in Maasin, so that sustainable efforts are guaranteed.

The idea came up as among the priority recommendations of the participants in the Stakeholders Assembly, held last March 29, which tackled "Coping with Water Scarcity" as its theme.

The assembly was almost like a sequel to the one held last year also in celebration of March as World Water Month. In the previous assembly, issues on water scarcity, salt water intrusion, watershed protection and depletion of ground water were discussed.

Today, as discussed by the different discussants in the forum, the same problems are aggravated, as shortage of fresh water from watershed and ground supplies becomes more pronounced, brought about by pollution of rivers, deforestation, including natural causes like uneven distribution of rainfall.

The assembly was attended by local government units representatives from the different water boards, government agencies and some private entities.

Metro Iloilo Water District Resident Engineer Timoteo Villaroman said the sustainability of efforts in rehabilitating the Maasin Watershed can be best done by private groups that can easily mobilize people, like he efforts being done by the Bantay Kalikasan for La Mesa Dam.

Engr. Villaroman also said the MIWD can be among those groups which can be commissioned to do the job, aided by sound ordinances by the local government units.

Dr. Jessica Salas, Executive Director of the Kahublagan sang Panimalay, a lead Non-government organization which has undertaken watershed rehabilitation projects and community mobilization in the Tigum-Aganan Watershed area, recommended for urgent action of the IWMC, especially in batting for artificial recharge of ground water sources, using the Rain Water Harvesting Technology.

The assembly participants unanimously approved the preparation of resolutions which should be given as inputs to some legislative agenda that will be presented to new legislators after the May 2007 elections, hoping that they will allocate budget for environment and water concerns. (PIA) [top]

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