BAGUIO CITY – Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan underscored that concerned government agencies, the local government and their private partners will still pursue the fencing of the Baguio portion of the Busol watershed amidst several snags which were found to be easily resolved through the conduct of relocation surveys and consultations with the concerned parties.
The local chief executive commended the Baguio Regreening Movement (BRM), the Baguio Water District (BWD) and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) for sustaining their collaboration with each other and the local government for the completion of the fencing of a portion of the watershed funded under the P18 million which he requested from former Environment Secretary Ramon Paje several years ago.
“There were a number of structures that were affected by the fencing project but we will still pursue it to protect the Busol watershed from further encroachments that greatly affect the condition of the major source of water for our constituents. We cannot afford to compromise the state of the city’s major watershed because residents will surely suffer from insufficient water supply in the future once the watershed will be devastated,” Domogan stressed.
He added the P10 million counterpart of the local government for the fencing project will be subjected to public bidding while the concerned government agencies will be working out the solutions to the boundary dispute between the St. Joseph Church in Pacdal and the DENR over some portions of the watershed.
In his letter to Mayor Domogan, Bishop Victor Bendico of the Diocese of Baguio claimed that the fence of the church did not encroach over portions of the watershed based on the technical description enshrined in the title of the property.
However, the DENR insists that the fence of the church encroached over portions of the watershed which is reportedly impeding the implementation of the fencing of the contested portions of the watershed.
Domogan explained that the controversy could only be resolved through a joint relocation survey, thus, the local government will communicate to the Bishop and the DENR to work out the said survey to put an end to the issue.
Busol watershed has a total land area of 336 hectares with 224 hectares located within the jurisdiction of the capital town of La Trinidad and the remaining 112 hectares is located in the city. Busol watershed is providing approximately 40 percent of the water requirements of the people in the different barangays.
Aside from the funds shelled out by the DENR and the local government for the fencing project, the Fil-Am Golf Foundation provided P5 million from the proceeds of the previous stagings of the Fil-Am invitational golf tournament as one of its major advocacies is environmental preservation and protection while the BRM also shared a portion of the required funds to complete the P34 million funding requirement to complete the fencing of the 8-kilometer stretch of the watershed within the jurisdiction of the city.
By Dexter A. See