Issue of September 10, 2017
     
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Benguet
Ifugao
Kalinga
Mt. Province
 
OPINION
 

2017
Panagbenga Flower Festival
 
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Upper Agno barangays vow to be watershed guardians
by Rhe-Ann B. Ngayaan

Fifty-two barangays within the Upper Agno Watershed Reservation were tapped as volunteers in the Bantay Watershed Task Force (BWTF) Program of the Upper Agno River Watershed Area Team-National Power Corporation (UARWAT CRO).

The BWTF was formed to help address the degradation of the Upper Agno Watershed Reserve. It is a community-based approach which eyes inhabitants in the watershed as partners in addressing environmental problems by reviving volunteerism and activism in forest protection and environmental preservation.

Barangays in Atok, Tublay, La Trinidad, Itogon, and Kabayan committed to be part of the BWTF and pledged to be designated as deputy forest officers.

“With proper training, indigenous peoples could be the best watershed managers and deputizing them as forest officers will give them authority to exercise their expertise in handling and enhancing our forest protection efforts in their areas,” said UARWAT Senior Watershed Management Specialist Guazon Garcia.

The BWTF are endorsed through barangay resolutions.

As the arm and eye of UARWAT in the barangay level, the volunteers shall assist in patrolling operations, setting up of checkpoints, confiscation of illegally harvested forest products, forest fire suppression, among others. They shall be provided with non-monetary benefits such as priority in employment, livelihood training/seminars, food during operations, uniform, ID card, and group insurance.

The BWTF is part of the regular program of WMD under its watershed protection and law enforcement pursuant to Executive Order 224, which gives NPC jurisdiction, control and administration over watersheds supporting hydro and geothermal power installations.


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