BAGUIO CITY – The City Council approved a resolution authorizing Mayor Benjamin B. Magalong to enter into a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and Alset Power Company and Rivent Enterprises for the rehabilitation of the Balili-Sagudin river subject to conditions.
The resolution authored by all members of the city legislative body states the city government, the DENR and Alset Power Company and Rivent Enterprises, all agree to work together to rehabilitate the Balili-Sagudin river, one of the most polluted bodies of water in the city that flows down to La Trinidad and Sablan towns of Benguet before discharging in the Naguilian river.
The concerned parties acknowledged that the Balili-Sagudin river, including the tributaries and catchment rivers, require attention to revive its condition through the help of the non-government sectors, and that volume of silt, waste and other debris which have become a continuing threat to the health and safety of the riverside community require needed action.
Under existing laws, rules and regulations, the DENR is mandated to restore, protect, and enhance environmental quality towards good public health, environmental integrity and economic viability and implement several environment-related laws.
Based on the agreement, the parties agreed to develop a comprehensive program intended to reduce possible degradation of the Balili-Sagudin river and for the same to coordinate with each other during the term of the agreement and participate in regular planning and implementation meetings with the view of reviewing and evaluating the implementation of the program; exploring the possible extension of the program and replication of the relevant activities conducted by the program in other sites.
The DENR is obligated to spearhead meetings in collaboration with the water quality management task force; validate the number of informal settler families and identification of easement and recovery of easement near the Balili-Sagudin river; monitor and evaluate the conduct and implementation of the cleaning and rehabilitation program and conduct information and education campaign activities while the city government is mandated to ensure regular collection of segregated waste in the barangays in the vicinity of the Balili-Sagudin river; ensure that barangay captains effectively implement solid waste and septic tank water management at their areas of responsibility; ensure the active participation of the homeowners’ associations and other community-based organizations within the barangays towards the achievement of program objectives; ensure, through provision of support, that the planned action commitment prepared by the communities will be implemented and undertake other activities as would be in the best interest of the program.
On the other hand, Alset Power Company and Rivent Enterprises will formulate the plan for and implement activities to improve water quality; spearhead cleanup of the tributary rivers; assist in the information and education campaign and community mobilization activities; initiate the conduct of training for community leaders; coordinate with concerned government agencies and the city government on the advocacies; attend meetings for the assessment of the project and perform other related activities.
By Dexter A. See
Photo by Armando M. Bolislis