Creation of Chico river Basin Dev’t Auhority proposed

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TABUK CITY, Kalinga – Rep. Allen Jesse C. Mangaoang refiled in the House of Representatives a bill seeking for the creation of the Chico River Basin Development Authority to ensure the sustainable preservation and protection of the largest river system in the Cordillera that strands from the Mount Data plateau in Bauko, Mountain Province up its discharge channel with the Cagayan River.

Under the proposed bill, the two-term lawmaker underscored that it is the policy of the State to promote the integrated management and development of resources in the country’s River Basins, within the context of a river basin approach to optimize economic and social welfare without compromising the sustainability of environmental system and to ensure a fair sharing of the national patrimony between highland and lowland people.

He pointed out that the objectives for the creation of the authority is to establish the legal framework and mechanisms for the creation of the Chico River Basin Development Authority; consolidate and harmonize all development initiatives within the river basin under the overall framework of a unified river-basin management and development approach; maximize the participation of all stakeholders in the area, establishing the most effective approach to effect an active and sustainable collaborations among stakeholders from government agencies, non-government agencies/people’s organization and the private sector; promote equitable sharing of costs and benefits from the basin’s natural resources across sectors, group of communities, across space and time; and negotiate local and external investment in the area, thereby increasing livelihood opportunities for the people within the Basin.

The authority will be under the Office of the President to carry out integrated, coordinated approach to planning and management of resources utilization and development within the Basin. The Authority which shall be organized within one hundred twenty (120) days after the approval of this Act, shall execute the powers and functions herein vested and conferred upon it in such a manner as will, in its judgment, aid to the fullest possible extent in carrying out the aims and purposes set forth.

The Authority shall be the primary government agency mandated to coordinate all development activities in coordination with the appropriate government agencies/people’s organization within the Chico River Basin. It shall ensure an integrated approach to planning and management of resources utilization and development on a basin-wide scale, utilizing indigenous systems of environmental management with due regards to the rights of indigenous peoples/indigenous cultural communities over their ancestral lands and ancestral domains under the Indigenous Peoples Right Act of 1997 and its attendant Rules and Regulations as maybe appropriate.

According to him, the Authority shall be the primary government agency mandated to coordinate all development activities in coordination with the appropriate government agencies/people’s organization within the Chico River Basin. It shall ensure an integrated approach to planning and management of resources utilization and development on a basin-wide scale, utilizing indigenous systems of environmental management with due regards to the rights of indigenous peoples/indigenous cultural communities over their ancestral lands and ancestral domains under the Indigenous Peoples Right Act of 1997 and its attendant Rules and Regulations as maybe appropriate.

The Authority shall maintain its principal office in the City of Tabuk, Province of Kalinga. It may however establish such branch offices in other places necessary for the proper conduct of its business.

Mangaong proposed that the composition of the authority’s Board of Directors, the general manager, regional directors of the National Economic and Development Authority of the Cordillera and Region II; Regional Directors of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) of Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) and Region II; regional Directors of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) of CAR and Region II; regional Directors of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) of CAR and Region II; regional Directors of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) of CAR and Region II; regional Directors of the Department of Tourism (DOT) of CAR and Region II; and two (2) representatives from the private sector who are stakeholders in the Chico River Basin.

The Authority shall have a capital of Five Hundred Million Pesos (P500, 000,000.00) which shall be entirely funded by the National Government.

However, Mangaoang claimed that it will be unlawful to dump solid and hazardous waste and untreated sewage into the Chico River basin; to dump or throw garbage into the Chico River Basin or on its banks; to squat on or appropriate portions of the banks of the aforesaid river basin for private use or gain, except for such reasonable augment of public use in the interest of recreation, navigation, floatage and fishing; and to fence off and/or encroach upon the said Chico River Basin or any portion thereof by any means whatsoever, and converting the same into fish pens for their private and material gain; and/or have the same titled in his name.

He disclosed that any person who will be found to have violated the prohibited acts shall be penalized by imprisonment of not less than six 6 years and one day nor more than eight 8 years, and a fine of not less than Ten Thousand Pesos (P10,000.00) nor more than One Hundred Thousand Pesos (P100,000.00): Provided, however, that in case of violation of this Act by an association, club, partnership, corporations, or any entity, the incumbent officers thereof who have knowingly participated in the violation shall be held liable: Provided, further that if the offender is an alien, he shall be immediately deported without further proceedings in the Bureau of Immigration and barred forever from entering the country after serving his sentence and paying his fine.

By HENT

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