Saturday, February 2, 2013



Thursday, 31 January 2013 18:40 | 

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has stepped up its efforts in guaranteeing safe and sustainable water supply for Filipinos by designating an additional six water quality management areas (WQMAs) nationwide.
Named as the country’s newest WQMAs in separate DENR Administrative Orders (DAOs) are the Pinacanauan de Tuguegarao in Cagayan province, the Balili River in Benguet, the Imus-Ylang Ylang-Rio Grande River system in Cavite, Calapan River system in Oriental Mindoro, and the Davao River and Tumaga River, both in Mindanao.
DENR Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje said that the designation of the WQMAs is to ensure the availability of clean water to present and future generations through the protection and revival of the water quality especially along rivers and coastal areas.
“This also encourages the participation and cooperation of local stakeholders from the different sectors to actively work together in water quality management and monitoring for their own mutual benefit,” he stated.

Paje particularly noted the designation of the Imus-Ylang Ylang-Rio Grande River system in Cavite as “critically important” in cleaning up Manila Bay, of which the river system is a tributary, as ordered by a Supreme Court mandamus issued in December 2008.
The other WQMAs are seen to benefit the following areas: Tuguegarao City and Peñablanca, Cagayan for the Pinacanauan de Tuguegarao; Baguio City, La Trinidad and Sablan in Benguet for Balili River; Calapan City, Oriental Mindoro for the Calapan River; Davao City for Davao River; and Zamboanga City for the Tumaga River.
Each DAO defines the political and administrative boundaries of the respective WQMAs up to barangay level. It also calls for the creation of Governing Boards to oversee the management of each WQMA. The Board is chaired by the regional director of the DENR’s Environmental Management Bureau (EMB), while members are composed of provincial and local chief executives, as well as representatives of relevant national government agencies, duly registered non-government organizations, and business and water utility sectors.
The board functions as a planning, monitoring and coordinating body and reviews the WQMA action plan which the EMB prepares.
The environment chief described designating WQMAs as “an important tool in enforcing the Clean Water Act as it calls for protection of water quality of river systems that are essential for livelihood and public health.”
The Clean Water Act (Republic Act 9275) mandates the DENR, in coordination with the National Water Resources Board (NWRB) to designate WQMAs using appropriate physiographic units such as watershed, river basis or water resources regions with similar conditions and have common interest or development programs or problems.
The designation of the six new WQMAs brings to 14 the total number of WQMAs nationwide, the other eight being: Sinocalan-Dagupan river system in Pangasinan; the Marilao-Meycauayan-Obando river system in Bulacan; areas with the Laguna Lake Development Authority’s jurisdiction in Southern Tagalog; the Tigum-Aganan watershed and the Iloilo-Batiano river system in the Visayas Region; and the Silway River, Sarangani Bay and Taguibo River, all in Mindanao.#


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