Saving the Benguet Watersheds for Water
For the last seven months, the Jaime V. Ongpin Foundation, Inc. (JVOFI) went full swing in implementing the European Union
funded project “Saving the Benguet Watersheds for Water”
, which started on August 8, 2011 and was formally launched lastOctober 18, 2011 at the Benguet Provincial Capitol.The project aims to demonstrate how devolution of forest management from the DENR to LGUs could take place in the framework of existing legislation (RA7160, DENR-DILG Joint Memorandum Circulars 98-01 & 2003-01 and DENR DAO 30). One water system per project site will also be constructed to establish link between forest protection and sustained water supply. The intentionis to make local stakeholders activ
e in protecting their forests or watersheds as sources of water. The total project cost is €434,000,of which 85%, or €368,90
0 (equivalent to approximately P22.13M) will be funded by the European Union and the remaining 15%of the project cost will be the contribution of Jaime V. Ongpin Foundation, Inc. and the Peace and Equity Foundation.The NCIP conducted validation in the six demonstration sites of the project complying with the provisions of the IndigenousPeoples Rights Act. As a result, Ambassador, Tublay; Banangan, Sablan; Poblacion, Bokod; Loo, Buguias; Poblacion, Atok; andSagpat, Kibungan willingly gave their resolution of consent to the project.The Project Implementation Team, spearheaded by the Benguet PLGU & the DENR, are currently installing monuments todelineate the boundaries in the communal forests and watersheds using survey results approved by the stakeholders. Furthermore, project partners, BSU & DENR, are also undertaking a biodiversity assessment in the communal forests of Poblacion, Atok andAmbassador, Tublay. This will help name, classify and determine if there are endemic and endangered species of flora and faunawithin the communal forests. The same assessment in the forests of Sagpat, Kibungan; Banangan, Sablan; Loo, Buguias; andPoblacion Bokod are scheduled to be conducted by April 2012. The results shall be used for the forest management plans whichwill include appropriate conservation and sustainable development strategies to preserve biodiversity.