Quadripartite MOA for Watersheds Signed

The quadripartite Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) for the protection, conservation and sustainable management of watersheds supporting the water requirements of all water districts in the country was signed by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA), and Philippine Association of Water Districts (PAWD) on September 22, 2020 in Quezon City.
The quadripartite MOA is an offshoot of the tripartite MOA of the Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA), Local Water Districts (LWDs) and DENR. It can be recalled that on September 30, 2009, LWUA, LWDs and DENR embarked into a Tripartite Agreement for the watersheds protection, rehabilitation and management in support of the water resource requirements of the water districts. However, it was not materialized for lack of a definitive mechanism to translate its terms of reference to action.
On November 5, 2020, the new agreement was launched during the Watershed Virtual Conference sponsored by PAWD and Maynilad Water Academy with the support of Metro Pacific Water. The quadripartite MOA includes the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) as it has the regulatory and oversight functions over the Local Government Units (LGUs) that exercise critical role in areas and territorial jurisdictions where local water districts operate, and endowed with the primordial task of protecting and advancing the right of the people to a balanced and healthy ecology in site-specific watersheds by virtue of the devolution of powers, under the Local Government Code of 1991, from the DENR to LGUs.
Speaking at the Watershed Virtual Conference, Vicente Cirilo Iriberri, general manager of Cantilan Water District and chair of PAWD-Watershed Development and Environment Committee (PAWD-WDEC), said that It took them almost three years to review and revisit the building blocks and other parameters why the tripartite MOA failed to take-off, together with the technical representatives from the other partner agencies.
GM Iriberri highlighted the general stipulations and mutual commitment that the parties agreed upon to uphold and translate effectively the quadripartite MOA. These include the following:
1. General Stipulation
(a) Ensure the protection, maintenance and improvement of the water yield, stability of water supply and/or reduce sedimentation of all watersheds in the country supporting the water requirement of local water districts. Watersheds, for purposes of its sustainable management, shall be considered as protection forest and watershed reserves and shall be jointly managed by the DENR in partnership with LGUs, LWUA and PAWD. LWUA, in coordination with PAWD, shall jointly identify specific sites within the said watershed for watershed management interventions, such as reforestation, streambank stabilization, agroforestry, protection and other rehabilitation in which the actual management, administration and operations of these specific sites shall be vested with PAWD, through the Local Water District concerned.
(b) Recognize, harmonize and interface existing administrative, jurisdictional, and institutional arrangement and responsibilities over specific watersheds as provided for under prevailing laws, rules and regulations, other issuances, and contractual agreements.
(c) Establish a general management planning strategy to serve as a guide in formulating individual plans for LWDs to protect and enhance preservation of their watershed. Thus, this Multiparty Agreement shall serve as framework for all subsequent and individual agreement to be entered into by and between LWD in particular and other concerned agencies.
(d) Ensure compliance with all environmental laws, rules and regulations, including, but not limited to RA No. 9257, The Philippine Water Act of 2004; RA 9003, Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000; PD No. 1067, s. 1976, Water Code of the Philippines; and PD 1479, amending PD 198, Water Utilities Act of 1973.
2. Joint Responsibilities
The DENR, LWUA, PAWD and DILG, through LGUs shall have the following joint undertakings within the subject watershed areas:
(a) The parties shall closely coordinate forest protection and law enforcement activities within the watershed identified and delineated thereon.
(b) Census management and control of watershed communities.
(c) Share available watershed information that would enhance the watershed management capabilities of all parties.
(d) Support and assist LWDs and DENR in the preparation of Integrated Watershed Management Plan (IWMP) and in the implementation thereof in order to protect and promote the watersheds to the greatest extent possible.
3. Miscellaneous Provisions
To fully and effectively carry out the intents and purposes of this Memorandum Agreement, the parties shall have within 90 days from the signing of this agreement:
(a) Sign and deliver a joint circular defining the implementing guidelines of this Memorandum of Agreement such other implementing agreements, documents and other papers, and do such other acts as maybe necessary, proper, or convenient in the premises.
(b) Constitute an Oversight Committee composed of DILG, PAWD, LWUA and DENR, as the lead agency, for decision and policy making in the national level.
(c) Create Technical Working Group (TWG), composed of representatives from DILG, LWUA, PAWD and DENR, to monitor, evaluate, and review progress and accomplishments of the watershed rehabilitation, protection and management activities of the Program level and at the site-specific project level for submission to the Oversight Committee.
“With this launching, we hope to fully and effectively carry out the intents and purposes of this MOA and be given priority action in the development agenda of each contracting entities amidst the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic,” GM Iriberri concluded.

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Last Update: January 26, 2021