Watershed Development Program: A Public Relations Approach Evolving Through Experience

..Watershed Development Program in the Taguibo River Watershed Forest Reserve A Public Relations Approach Evolving Through Experience..

The Butuan City Water District (BCWD) continues to expand its existing internal and external projects to further its reach throughout Butuan City.


Under the belt of the BCWD Community Relations and External Affairs Division (CREAD) and Watershed Division is the implementation of several advocacy programs including Community Relations Projects in the Taguibo River Watershed Forest Reserve (TRWFR) where the major source of water supply of the BCWD comes from.


BCWD’s Watershed Development Program at the Taguibo River Watershed Forest Reserve is one of the principal tools for the rehabilitation of the watershed area as well as the source of alternative livelihood by the watershed settlers in the area, majority of which are Indigenous People (IPs). Poverty in the TRWFR has been the root cause of the degradation of the forested area in the watershed as watershed settlers prefer to conduct illegal activities, slash and burn farming and other means that contribute to the degradation of the area so that they are able to provide for their families’ daily needs.


A central focus on BCWD’s Community Relations’ projects in the watershed is to ensure that the watershed settlers are given continuous information drive to be able to understand and appreciate better their role in the protection and preservation of the TRWFR. Aside from that, another aspect of the project is to encourage the watershed settlers to participate in the rehabilitation of the forested area of the TRWFR by providing alternative livelihood to be able to sustain the reforestation program implemented. As an impetus for the watershed settlers to participate in the massive reforestation projects as well as the protection of the TRWFR, BCWD has conducted and supported several activities in the area.


Taguibo River

Watershed Forest Reserve


The Taguibo River was proclaimed as a Watershed Forest Reserve by President Fidel V. Ramos under Proclamation No. 1076 on September 4, 1997. It has a total land area of 4,367.44 hectares covering four (4) local government jurisdictions namely, Barangay Anticala in Butuan City, Barangay San Antonio in Remedios Trinidad Romualdez (RTR) and Barangay Mahaba in Cabadbaran City and a portion of Sibagat, Agusan del Sur. Its watershed continuum extends towards the coastal areas of Magallanes that makes a total land area of 12,438 hectares.


The rationale for its proclamation was to establish the Taguibo River Watershed Forest Reserve (TRWFR) for the purpose of protection, maintenance and improvement of its water yield and providing restraining mechanism for inappropriate forest exploitation and land use practices.


The Taguibo River Watershed is also within the Sibagat – Wawa Forest Reserve under Proclamation No.308 dated September 3, 1954.


In 2012, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) issued Administrative Order No. 2012-11 designating the Taguibo River as Water Quality Management Area (Pursuant to Section 5 of RA 9275 otherwise known as the Philippine Clean Water Act of 2004) recognizing the importance of the area to its downstream communities.


The TRWFR is very important to the community for the following reasons:


- Plays a vital role in the socio-economic development of Butuan City;


- Being the main source of potable water supplied by BCWD;


- Supplies water to National Irrigation Administration (NIA) servicing to a vast area of rice fields; and


- It is the source of livelihood for the residents in the watershed.


Being the primary source of water supply in the area of Butuan City, there are two (2) major stakeholders using Taguibo River as water supply. One of the two major stakeholders is the BCWD for the potable water with water rights of 1,000 liters per second and the second stakeholder is the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) with waters of 700 liters per second as source of irrigation. NIA dam is situated at lower Anticala which is already downstream of BCWD’s Bulk Water Supplier facilities. The following are the existing Water Rights issued within the Taguibo River:


- National Irrigation Administration: 700 LPS / Permit   No. 4412 issued by NWRB; and


- Butuan City Water District: 1,000 LPS / Permit No. 15656 / April 15, 1997.


Issues and Concerns within the Taguibo Watershed


The Taguibo Watershed is rich in biodiversity and other natural resources. As such, in managing the Watershed area, several issues and concerns came up, to wit:


1. Several Tenurial Instruments were Issued for the Area


* 1997 – Proclaimed as Taguibo Watershed Forest Reserve;


* 1998 – DENR grants the Certificate of Ancestral Domain  Claim  (CADC) to Indigenous People (IP);


* 2009 – NCIP grants the Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title (CADT) to IPs;


* DENR also grants four (4) Community Based Forest Management Agreement (CBFMA) within the Taguibo Watershed Forest Reserve:


- ATRICMPCO (Anticala Tribal Community Mngt. Producers Coop.); Brgy. Anticala, Butuan City;


- AKTFAI (Anticala Kabulay Tree  Farmer’s Association, Inc.); Brgy. Anticala, Butuan City;


- Mahaba Tribal Council Cultural Communities, Inc. (MTCCCI); Brgy. Mahaba, Cabadbaran;


- Kolambugan Tribal Association Multi-purpose Cooperative (KOTAMPCO); Brgy. Kolambugan Sibagat, ADS;


2. Overexploitation and Lack of Management


The forest cover of this watershed is now dwindling and is considered in critical state due to overexploitation and lack of management.


Continued human activities such as logging, mining, and slash-and-burn farming within the watershed expand the deforested areas.


In 2008-2012, devious individuals had been devastating the watershed by conducting illegal road construction, Manganese mining and timber poaching.


The History of Mining in Taguibo Watershed


In 2007, DENR Region XIII apprehended approximately 1,200 MT of Manganese Ore mined from the Taguibo Watershed.  Two years after, in 2009, more than 200 MT of newly extracted ores were observed within the Taguibo Watershed.


A massive information campaign was implemented in Butuan to involve the community in stopping the illegal activities in the Taguibo Watershed to which it was successfully done. Because of the participation of the education, socio-civic, religious sector and the BCWD, the illegal activities at the Taguibo Watershed was halted.


BCWD PR PROGRAMS Implemented on Watershed Development


The BCWD Public Relations / Community Relations Programs implemented on Watershed Development for the Taguibo River Watershed Forest Reserve (TRWFR) are divided into different categories. The categories include: Information Drive, Community Support Program, Reforestation Projects, and Infrastructure Projects.


BCWD’s Information Drive Program within the watershed provides the venue for educating the watershed settlers, teaching them the importance of conservation and their role in the protection and preservation of the area. The Community Support Program of BCWD within the Taguibo River Watershed is the arm that reaches out to the community to support current activities that the community wishes to implement but that needs assistance from the BCWD in order for it to be successfully implemented or completed. BCWD Reforestation Projects, on one hand, are the most important BCWD activities implemented in the area as these ensures that the watershed settlers actively participate in the reforestation of the Taguibo Watershed to ensure sustainability and continuity of the tree growing in the area. Finally, BCWD’s Infrastructure Projects are a way of supporting the community and showing to them that the District cares for those living in the watershed area. This will also ensure that the watershed settlers will no longer harm the surrounding environment to be able to provide for their basic needs for day to day living.


BCWD implemented the following programs in the Taguibo Watershed:


-  BCWD exerted efforts for the formulation of the Taguibo Watershed Management Plan;


-  Support Peoples Organization in the Taguibo Watershed;


-  130 hectares National Greening Program (NGP);


-  Adopt-A-Forest Program;


-  Abaca Dispersal/Intercrop;


-  Eleven (11) Units of Sanitation Facilities (DUAL ROOM/UNIT) for 2010-2016;


-  Water Supply Improvements;


-  IEC/Watershed Symposium;


-  Monthly Rice Assistance (4 sacks monthly rice assistance for Dugyaman Elementary School); and


-  Support the sustainable implementation of proper solid waste management at Sitio Tagkiling, Anticala, Butuan City.


Information Drive

Watershed Community Symposium


Every year, BCWD conducts a quarterly Watershed Community Symposium. A Team from BCWD visits two (2) Sitios every quarter to discuss about the concept of Watershed, Forest Protection, Solid Waste Management, and Water Quality Management Area (WQMA). This will ensure that the education of the watershed settlers is continuous. They are reminded of their important role in taking care of the watershed and its protection. During the implementation of the said symposium, BCWD invites speakers from the Department of Natural Resources, Environmental Management Bureau and other partner agencies/stakeholders in the area.


At the end of the symposium, the watershed settlers are given the avenue to inquire or raise their concerns regarding their activities and role in the protection and preservation of the Watershed. They also share their opinions and suggestions to better implement the projects of BCWD within their area. It is also BCWD’s way of getting feedback from the people living in the watershed.


Community Support Program


1. BCWD exerted effort to formulate the Taguibo Watershed Management Plan.


A project entitled “Formulation of Watershed Management and Development Plan for the Conservation of Taguibo Watershed,” a collaborative project of LEAF Foundation, Inc., Butuan City Water District (BCWD) and Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF).


The project aims to formulate a sustainable watershed management plan in order to conserve the resources in the watershed to sustain potable water supply to Butuan City and irrigable rice fields.


2. BCWD supports people’s organization within the watershed area particularly the Anticala Watershed Farmers Producers Cooperative (AWFPC).


- Facilitated the formation of the farmer’s association in the area into a cooperative duly registered in the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA) and supports the Participation of the AWFPC  in the Caraga Agricultural Trade and Marketing.


3. BCWD provides four (4) sacks of rice monthly to Dugyaman Elementary School


As a result of several visits in the Taguibo Watershed, it was found out that one Sitio within the watershed is growing concerned with the dwindling number of kids going to school in Dugyaman Elementary School. It was found out that since the kids are walking from their homes to schools, oftentimes they fail to go to school because they have no proper meal thereby having no energy to walk the distance from their homes to the school. As such, BCWD committed to providing four (4) sacks of rice each month to the school so that the school will be able to provide free lunch for the pupils. Because of this, the population of the students in Dugyaman Elementary School has increased considerably. At the start of the implementation, BCWD only committed to two (2) sacks of rice monthly. However, with the increasing number of students, the monthly commitment of BCWD increased to four (4) sacks.


4. Mass Feeding, De-worming and Gift Giving


BCWD conducts Mass Feeding, Deworming and Gift Giving in the Taguibo Watershed during the Anniversary Celebration of the District. Schools supplies such as notebooks and pens are distributed to the kids during the gift giving. This will lessen the burden of the parents in providing school supplies to their kids as they go to school.


5. Support the sustainable implementation of proper solid waste management at Sitio Tagkiling, Anticala, Butuan City


As a result to the continuous Information Drive of BCWD in the area regarding Forest Protection, About the Watershed and Solid Waste Management, one Sitio of the Watershed started to implement their Solid Waste Management Program.


BCWD supports Sitio Tagkiling to ensure proper implementation of Solid Waste Management by providing incentives monthly to the top three clusters garnering the highest number of points for proper Solid Waste Management. By end of the month, a team from BCWD will visit the area to inspect their respective clusters and gauge whether they continue to implement their solid waste management program.


6. BCWD Provides School Supplies to Dugyaman Elementary School


Every year, BCWD provides 5 pieces notebooks per students and pencil and ballpen for all enrollees of Dugyaman Elementary School. This activity is a means of ensuring that the kids in the watershed area will receive proper education.


Reforestation Projects


All Reforestation Projects conducted by BCWD in the Taguibo Watershed always takes into consideration the livelihood or the source of income for those families living within the watershed that will participate in the said project.


Monetary incentives as well as other source of crops through fruit trees and abaca is provided for those participating families to ensure sustainability of the reforestation project.


For site preparation (brushing, weeding, hole digging and staking) and out planting, each family is given the amount of P9,000.00 per hectare. For the 1st year maintenance of the planted seedlings, each family is given P2,500.00 per hectare every two months from planting. For the 2nd year maintenance, each family is given P2,500.00 per hectare every quarter. For the 3rd year maintenance, each family is given P2,500.00 per hectare every semester.


For maintenance of Abaca Intercrop (brushing and weeding with replanting), each family is given 250 suckers per hectare with the amount of P10.00 per sucker.


Seedlings planted in the Reforestation Projects include forest tree seedlings such as narra and molave at ? 10.00 per seedling and grafted fruit trees such as durian, rambutan and lanzones at P40.00 per seedling. The fruit trees will serve as another source of alternative income for the watershed settlers participating in the reforestation. The fruits that will be harvested will be theirs to sell so that it will be an additional income for their family.


BCWD representatives go to the area to inspect the planted seedlings in the area per schedule. After gathering the results of the inspection, BCWD conducts a meeting with the participating families in the watershed to discuss the updates regarding their planted seedlings as well as to distribute their monetary incentive for their role in the maintenance of the planted seedlings.


1. National Greening Program (NGP)


BCWD has been in partnership with the DENR and was granted as beneficiary for its National Greening Program (NGP).


For the implementation of NGP, a sum of Two Million Four Hundred Ninety-Five Thousand Pesos ?2,495,000.00) project cost for three (3) years will be shouldered by the DENR. BCWD also provides counterpart amounting to Four Million Eight Hundred Twenty Six Thousand and Two Hundred Fifty Pesos Only ?4,826,250.00). Likewise, Fr. Saturnino Urios University Foundation Inc. (FSUUFI) committed to provide financial support in the amount of Two Hundred Ninety-nine Thousand Pesos Only (?299,000.00) for the intercropping of Abaca within the 130 hectares target area under the NGP.


As of December 2017, 90.32% Survival Rate for the Planted Seedlings (130) Hectares.


2. BCWD’s Other Reforestation Project


BCWD also reforested 25 Hectares from years 2010-2013 and 35 Hectares Reforestation Project for 2015.


Approximately 42,000 abaca suckers were planted to existing Agroforestry Reforestation sites within the Taguibo Watershed as intercrop.


3. Adopt-A-Forest


BCWD designed an “Adopt A Forest Program” for those individuals, institutions and organizations that would like to donate or provide funds for one or more hectares to be reforested in the Taguibo Watershed. This program was approved by virtue of BCWD Board of Directors Resolution No. 080-2013 dated June 17, 2013. Said program covers funds for reforestation covering a 3-year implementation period including the maintenance of planted seedlings to ensure high survival rate.


Infrastructure Projects


1. Construction of communal sanitation facilities

- Construction of communal sanitation facilities in the watershed areas is a project by BCWD so that the watershed settlers will have a proper sanitation facility. This will be a means of improving the water quality of the Taguibo River.


The watershed settlers were taught how to properly take care of their communal sanitation facilities as well as its advantages.


2. Dugyaman Water system with a project cost of ?80,000.00.  Completed in December 2016; and


3. Sitio Mahayahay Water Supply System funded through Luntiaw Mindanao in the amount of ?150,000.00 and ?600,000.00 from BCWD.

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Last Update: June 08, 2018