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PIA Press Release

DENR 8 prioritizes rehabilitation of 9 critical watersheds in Eastern Visayas

Tacloban City (June 21) -- The Department of Environment and Natural Resources will prioritize this year, the rehabilitation of the nine critical watershed areas in Eastern Visayas under its "From Ridges to Reefs" program.

Guesting at the Harampang Ha PIA in connection with the month-long celebration of the National Environment Month, Regional Executive Director Primitivo Galinato Jr. informed that his Agency has made a roadmap of the 9 critical areas in the Region so that development and rehabilitation works will be prioritized in the areas.

DENR has identified 9 critical watershed areas namely: the 64,209 hectares Catarman Watershed in Northern Samar; the 84,969 hectares Dolores/Jicontol Watershed and the 7,168 hectares Linal-an Watershed in Eastern Samar; and the 21,699 Calbiga Watershed in Samar.

Also among the 9 critical watershed areas are the 36,939 hectares Binahaan Watershed and the 15,719 hectares Salug Watersheds in the province of Leyte; the 11,325 hectares Hinabian Watershed and the 4,869 hectares Maasin Watershed in Southern Leyte; and the 3,444 Almeria Watershed in the province of Biliran.

RED Galinato said that the critical watershed are called such because of their importance to man. A critical watershed area is a source of potable water, water for irrigation, production of steam, serves as eco-tourism and recreation areas and potential source of medicine because of the presence of economically and ecologically important fauna and flora and other organisms.

Because of their importance to men, there is a need for immediate rehabilitation for economic and environmental sustenance of the population depending on these critical watersheds, RED Galinato said.

The management and conservation of a watershed?s natural resource base and the orientation of technological and institutional change are very important so as to ensure the attainment and continued satisfaction of human needs for the present and future generations.

Earlier, Regional Technical Director Felipe Calub of the DENR Forest Management Service pointed out that timber poaching, forest conversion to abaca plantation, soil erosion, and flood occurrence are the primary threats to the existing watershed areas in Region 8.

RED Galinato said that the abuse of the watershed areas is not only due to the lack of alternatives or options but also ignorance of the long term impact of economic impact to the natural resource.

More information and education campaigns to conserve watershed areas as well as the deployment of more forest patrols to the areas and going after the timber poachers have been suggested as solutions.

RED Galinato added that multi-sectoral initiatives have to be sustained to insure that the utilization and development of watersheds are undertaken in such a manner that is economically efficient, where the benefits are commensurate with the costs.

Together with RED Galinato during the media interaction were MGB Director Roger de Dios, Regional Technical Director for Land Management Service Ramon Unay, Regional Technical Director for Ecosystems Research and Development Service Manolito Ragub, Regional Technical Director for Protected Areas Wildlife and Coastal Zone Management Service Ricardo Tomol and the representative of EMB Director in the person of Engr. Reynaldo Barra, chief of the Environmental Quality Division.

Also present were the Provincial Environment and Natural Resource Officers in the different province in Eastern Visayas, namely: Robin Tomulva of Leyte, Ranulfo Arbiol of Southern Leyte, Danilo Javier of Eastern Samar, George F. Guillermo of Samar, Herminigildo Jocson of Biliran and Fidel Adal of Northern Samar; and Elias Aya-ay, the CENRO for Maasin City. (PIA 8) [top]

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