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PIA Press Release

Apayao folks urged to remain stewards of environment

Conner, Apayao (4 June) -- Both government and the church urged the people living along the Nabuangan River to remain stewards of the environment.

Bishop Prudencio Andaya Jr., who led the blessing of the Boboli Upper Micro-Hydro Power Plant (BUMHPP), called on the people to protect God's creation so that it will continue to provide good things in life.

Andaya Jr. inspired the indigenous faithful to maintain righteousness while exploiting the natural resources. "In the light of church's teaching that the environment is source of life, destroying it is abandoning the call for us to protect and love God's creation," he said in Ilocano.

Philippine Information Agency Manager Peter Balocnit, who was guest speaker during the inauguration of BUMHPP held at Nanawatan-Lapat on May 29, scored on the importance of sustaining the project.

He told BUMHPP Association officers to work out measures of sustaining the operation of the power plant by also protecting the source of water that runs it.

"I urged you to initiate the enactment of an ordinance prohibiting slash and burn farming (kaingin) within a considerable radius so that the watershed remains intact," he said.

He advised them to propose with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to expand the coverage area of the Upland Development Program (UDP) so that Nabuangan could also be provided with financial assistance through agro-forestry projects and reforestation.

To maximize the utilization of the power plant, Balocnit encouraged the beneficiaries to engage in other environment-friendly livelihood projects for employment opportunities and to earn additional family income.

Engr. Christoper Alfonso of the San Roque Power Corporation, in-charge of the over-all construction of the power plant under the company's corporate social responsibility of extending assistance to communities said that only 20% of the 20 kW power generated is being utilized.

Three micro-hydro projects were constructed in the Nabuangan complex - one in Buneg assisted by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), Bunog by the Pondo ng Pinoy, and BUMHPP by Manus Unidas of Spain. Another one in Katablangan along the Barren River, also assisted by UNDP, is operating.

Said four micro-hydro power plants were worked out by the Catholic Church including sourcing of funds particularly Fr. Romeo Dawaton who closely supervised them. (PIA) [top]

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