EMB-CAR Supports Fund-Raising Activities

       The Environmental Management Bureau (EMB-CAR) supports the option considered by the Governing Board of the Balili River-Water Quality Management Area (BR-WQMA) to conduct fund-raising activities for Balili River to jumpstart the approved research proposals. The idea came when the long-awaited release of the Area Water Quality Management Fund which is supposed to be the funding source of activities to be undertaken failed to be released by authorized agencies because of reasons.

        In a meeting on October 8, 2014 at the WAMD-CEPMO of Baguio City, the Technical Working Group (TWG) of the BR-WQMA identified the activities as golf cup, paper viewing of boxing games and a fun run.

      The local government units of Baguio City and La Trinidad, Benguet shall head the Steering Committee while the Benguet State University and the EMB-CAR shall be the activity coordinator and co-coordinator, respectively. Supporting the different committees created will be the water districts of Baguio City and La Trinidad, Benguet, Hedcor, Benguet Electric Cooperative, Saint Louis University, University of the Philippines, University of the Cordilleras, Pines City Colleges, national government agencies, among other. The events will be conducted before the year ends and are expected to generate more than a hundred thousands.



BALILI RIVER GOVERNING BOARD APPROVES RESEARCH PROPOSALS

     In its bid to fast track the protection of Balili River from further degradation of its water quality, the Governing Board of the Balili River-Water Quality Management Area (BR-WQMA) approved four research proposals for implementation in 2015 on October 16, 2014 at the Karmela Function Hall of Pinesview Hotel, Baguio City. This was confirmed by Engr. Alex C. Luis, Chief of the Environmental Management and Enforcement Division of the Environmental Management Bureau-Cordillera Administrative Region (EMB-CAR) who presided the 3rd quarter Governing Board meeting on behalf of Regional Director and BR-WQMA Chair Oscar C. Cabanayan.

      The following researches were proposed by the academe sector (i.e. Benguet State University, Saint Louis University, University of the Cordilleras, University of the Philippines and Pines City Colleges), all members of the BR-WQMA Technical Working Group (TWG):

1) Baseline Data on Physico-Chemical and Biodiversity Status;

2) Toxic Analysis;

3) Knowledge, Attitude and Practices (KAP) and;

4) Website Enhancement. The EMB-CAR will continue to provide the necessary administrative and technical assistance.

Research proposals are major activities identified to be conducted under the approved Balili River Ten-Year Development Plan.

DENR-CAR Leads in the Observance of World Water Day

To heighten the advocacy to protect waterbodies and observe March 22 as World Water Day,  the DENR-CAR Regional Office, including the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB-CAR), Mines and Geo-Sciences Bureau (MGB-CAR), PENRO Benguet and CENRO Baguio, spearheaded the synchronized cleanup of the Balili River in Baguio City and La Trinidad, Benguet. Joined by representatives of said LGUs and the adoptors, the cleanup was able to haul ---- tons of solid wastes from Balili River. The kinds of plastics, bottles, worn-out clothes, garden wastes, styrophors and many others constitute the bulk of wastes that were fished out

The cleanup was an information dissemination strategy to enjoin the communities to participate. Though this has been regarded as unpopular among concerned stakeholders as it will only encourage dependence by the communities on support, the river cleanup, however, stirred the consciousness of the people that Balili River was indeed, “biologically dead”.

The display of advocacy tarpaulins in conspicuous places and promotions of activities in flag ceremonies and radio programs will be done for the whole month of March while the river cleanup was done on March 20, 2014.

DENR-CAR ADOPTS GIBRALTAR CREEK

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources – Cordillera Administrative Region (DENR-CAR) adopted Gibraltar Creek, a tributary of Sagudin River in Barangay Gibraltar, Baguio City. The Sagudin River is the headwater of Upper Naguilian River (Balili River).

As an Adoptor, it conducted a meeting with barangay officials on March 14, 2014 at in Gibraltar Barangay Hall, Baguio City. One the agenda discussed was the presentation and discussion of the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) entered into by the DENR-CAR, Barangay Gibraltar, and the City Environment and Parks Management Office (CEPMO) of LGU Baguio City. Also, the action plan that was initially prepared by the barangay officials late of last year was also presented for discussion. Issues such as encroachment, constriction and pollution were raised during the open forum, as those needing instantaneous actions.

Along with the action plan is a lineup of activities. Tentatively set on the 2nd of May 2014, is a fun-run. Nevertheless, a tree planting activity during the rainy season is settled and will be within the jurisdiction of Purok 3 (watershed area).

The Adopt-an-Estero/Water Body Program has seen to be one of the most operative platforms urging private sectors and communities to actively partake in rehabilitating the rivers and creeks. 

LGU Sagada Learns From LGU Bontoc Initiatives on ESWM

The members of the Municipal Solid Wastes Management Board of Sagada, Mountain Province visited the closed and on-going rehabilitation Caluttit Open Dumpsite in Bontoc, Mountain Province. The “lakbay-aral” which also included visiting the eco-park and the junk-shop-turned-MRF, was part of the exposure activity provided by EMB-CAR for the orientation of said officials.

The exposure trip with orientation briefing on February 26 and 27, 2014 enabled the members of the Sangguniang Bayan of LGU Sagada to adapt some of the best practices of LGU Bontoc in its effort to comply with the provisions of the Ecological Solid Wastes Management Act (RA 9003). The EMB-CAR will be helping the former also in the establishment, operationalization and maintenance/sustainability of a Materials Recovery Facility (MRF).

EMB-CAR Supports LGU Bontoc In Its Bid to Enhance ESWM

The LGU Bontoc, Mountain Province enjoys the full support of the EMB-CAR in its efforts to continually introduce new concepts and technologies that will improve and sustain the established ecological solid waste management system.

The EMB-CAR provided the necessary skills enhancement orientation to the members of the Municipal Solid Wastes Management Board as a preparatory activity for the establishment, operationalization and maintenance for sustainability, of a Materials Recovery Facility (MRF).  This was held on February 24-25, 2014 at Samoki Valley Inn, Bontoc, Mountain Province. If established, the MRF will service initially the four urban barangays, namely, Poblacion, Bontoc-Ili, Samoki and Caluttit.

Adoptors of Agno River Assess River Status

On February 12, 2014, representatives of Tiongsan Harrison Bazaar, Baguio Center Mall and N4th Enterprises, all adoptors of Agno River in Baguio City, had a walk-through within the River to assess its physical status. This was done so that said adoptors can plan their respective appropriate activities for implementation.

Among the issues noted that need to be addressed were solid and liquid wastes which were coming from upstream. Initial coordination has been made with local officials of Happy Hollow and Country Club,  as to the IEC activities that the adoptors will administer on the last week of February 2014.

The adoptors were joined by field personnel of the City Environment and Parks Management Office (CEPMO) of Baguio City, and the WQmA/Adopt-an-Estero/Waterbody regional Team of EMB-CAR.

EMB-CAR Prepares Preliminary Steps for Bued River as WQMA

On February 6, 2014 the Office presented the concepts of Adopt-an-Estero/Waterbody Program and Water Quality Management Area (WQMA) before the members of the Sangguniang Bayan of Itogon, Benguet.

Presided by Hon. Vice-Mayor Carantes the proposal of the Office to designate Bued River as a WQMA was initially deliberated upon, as it was the first item in the agenda of the regular session. The body welcomed the proposal and signified interest for detailed discussion of mechanics and requirements of the activity.  The gathering became also the venue to discuss other environmental concerns such as identification of appropriate sanitary landfill sites, air quality emission of a certain mining company and quarrying.

Bued River traverses 25 barangays of the City of Baguio, 6 barangays in Tuba, and 2 barangays in Itogon, respectively, all in the province of Benguet. It is being proposed as WQMA because of the need to protect it from the numerous piggeries within the areas, including quarrying activities, all potential sources of pollution. The creation of the Technical Working Group (TWG) that will start the preparatory activities will be convened on March 28, 2014.

Republic Act 9275 or the Philippine Clean Water Act of 2004, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Administrative Order No. 2005-10 or the Implementing Rules and Regulations of RA 9275 and DENR Memorandum Circular 2009-15 on the Procedural Manual for the Designation of Water Quality Management Areas, specifies the designation of certain areas as Water Quality Management Areas (WQMA) using appropriate physiographic units such as watershed, river basins or water resources regions. The designation of WQMA is one of the strategies identified to effectively enforce the Clean Water Act and improve the water quality of water bodies. Further, WQMA shall take into consideration water quality problems, its sources of pollution, and the beneficial use of the receiving water body.

Seven Adoptors of Balili River Renew Commitment

The Saint Louis University, University of the Cordilleras, University of Baguio-JPICE/PSSE, University of the Philippines Baguio City Campus, National Institute of Information Technology,  MJ Enterprise and Goshenland renewed their commitment/agreement with the City of Baguio to continue the implementation of planned activities and programs to protect, rehabilitate and revitalize the said River. Through a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) signed on February 5, 2014 with the City of Baguio, represented by the Executive Assistant to the mayor, Rafael Tallocoy, and witnessed by concerned barangay officials, and the EMB-CAR through OIC Regional Director Oscar C. Cabanayan, the adoptors agreed to deliver for another year the stipulated responsibilities in order to achieve the objectives of the Program.

The Adopt-an-Estero/Waterbody Program is a national program of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources through its Environmental Management Bureau (DENR EMB), which enjoins stakeholders to adopt, plan and improve the state of waterbodies and waterways in the country.

Water Dialogue Seals Commitment to Protect Rivers in Baguio City

The arguments presented by the stakeholders on the issues surrounding the state of the rivers in the City of Baguio have resulted in agreements to commit continued support for the protection of the rivers.  Through the Water Dialogue which the City of Baguio, through its City Environment and Parks Management Office (CEPMO), convened on February 5, 2014 at the City Multi-purpose Hall, water issues such as siltation, river banks encroachment, pollution, solid and liquid wastes, informal settlements, resources and others were argued about lengthily. Recommended courses of actions to address the identified issues were expected to be delivered by concerned stakeholders.

 The EMB-CAR was one of the presenters of water programs where the Adopt-an-Estero/Waterbody Program, and the adopted Balili River which was designated as Water Quality Management Area (WQMA) were promoted. Also, the concept of WQMA, and the Bued River being proposed as WQMA were also introduced. The open forum clarified specific roles of the national and local government as to the enforcement of the Philippine Clean Water Act (RA 9275) and the implementation of programs and activities.

            The Water Dialogue is an annual gathering of barangay officials, community, academe representatives, and the private sector to discuss water issues of the major rivers (i.e. Ambalanga, Agno, Bued, Asin-Galiano and Balili) in the City. Convened annually by the CEPMO, this is one of the information, education and communication (IEC) strategies under its “Salaknib ti Waig” program, a local adaptation of the Adopt-an-Estero/Waterbody Program.

EMB-CAR Continues to Promote RCE as an Effective ESWM Strategy

Despite alternative technologies introduced to address the perpetual problem on solid wastes, the EMB-CAR has not stopped promoting the conduct of Recyclables Collection Events (RCEs) to LGUs and schools/universities and government offices in the Region.

On various dates in January 2014, and in separate locations, RCEs were spearheaded by the EMB-CAR, DENR-CAR CENRO Baguio, Barangay Lualhati, Baguio City and  Baguio City National High School, respectively. From the four events, there were 1,927.9 kilos of recyclables that were managed/appropriately handled..

An RCE is a half-day event of buying-selling-donating of recyclables that was launched in 2006 by the DENR in partnership with the private sector. It aimed to not only convert the wastes into economic value, but also to translate the managed recyclables into environmental benefits (i.e. number of trees saved, metals managed, hazardous and toxic chemical wastes handled, and landfill space spared).

Information on Climate Change Adds to the Readiness of LGUs on Disaster Risk Reduction and Management

With the unpredictable changes in weather patterns that are affecting natural cycles and causing environmental issues, local government units (LGUs) in the Region have been capacitating their constituents, since then, to respond pro-actively to disasters and risks brought about by natural calamities, such as impacts of climate change.

As its mandate to inform and educate, EMB-CAR shared information about Climate Change on January 15, 2014 to 30 local officials of LGU Tuba, Benguet. The lecture dwelt briefly on the following: Science of Climate Change; Global and Local Scenarios; Causes; Impacts and Effects; Efforts of the Government (Mitigation and Adaptation Measures), and What One Can Do.  The information provided guided the participants during the workshop on Disaster Risk Reduction and Management

Technical Working Group of Balili River-WQMA Plans for 2014

On several dates in January 2014, members of the Technical Working Group (TWG) of Balili River-WQMA met to evaluate the 2013 accomplishments vis-à-vis the Ten-Year Development Plan and Short-Term Action Plan. The assessment was done to identify gaps and issues that need to be addressed and the promising efforts that should be propelled for 2014.

 In the early 2013, the TWG has set five (5) key result areas (KRAs) which set the direction towards achieving the goals of the BR-WQMA, and these were the following: KRA 1: Research and Development, KRA 2: Governance, KRA 3: Information, Education and Communication (IEC), KRA 4: Reduced Dumping of Wastes, and KRA 5: Infrastructure and Development.

 As planned for 2014, KRA 1 will focus on both scientific and social researches which aim to find out the physico-chemical properties of the river and the level of awareness, attitude and practices of target respondents on some related concerns;KRA 3 will pursue the development and production of advocacy materials (i.e. mascot, video documentaries and others); and KRAs 2, 4, and 5 will issue notices of violations on encroachment, continue survey of encroached areas, identify infrastructure projects for consideration by DPWH-CAR, capacitate TWG members and procure supplies and equipment for the furtherance of the planned activities.

 The Balili River was designated as WQMA on February 19, 2013 by virtue of DENR Administrative Order 2013-05.  This is administrated by a Governing Board which was organized in March 2013.