MANILA–Occidental Mindoro Rep. Josephine Ramirez-Sato is calling for the protection and conservation of the country’s watersheds in celebration of the World Water Day 2017.
World Water Day is a global event celebrated on March 22 every year to create awareness on water resources management.
In a statement on Wednesday, Sato urged various stakeholders to ensure sustainable management of freshwater resources, stressing the need to protect and make good use of this important resource amid its abundance in the country.
“Water is a very important economic resource and the key to human survival and sustainable growth and development,” Sato said.
“We should protect and conserve our water source to secure the future of our children and children’s children,” she added.
Sato said critical watersheds in the Philippines are fragile and need protection against various threats, just like the watersheds in Mindoro.
Sato has filed House Bill 4617, known as the “Mindoro Watershed Reservation Act”, seeking to declare as watershed reservations the critical watersheds in Occidental and Oriental Mindoro.
The nine Mindoro watersheds covered under the bill are Amnay, Busuanga, Caguray, Calawagan, Lumintao, Mamburao, Mongpong, Pagbahan, and Patrict.
The bill mandates the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the provincial governments of Occidental and Oriental Mindoro to have joint administrative jurisdiction, supervision and control of the watersheds in Mindoro Island.
A Multi-Sectoral Management Council will be established as an oversight and policy-making body over the watersheds.
The said council shall prepare, an integrated watershed management and development plan to include among others intensive restoration, rehabilitation, water quality, monitoring and delineation of buffer zone.
“Protecting and conserving watersheds, Sato said, is also the best way to protect and conserve the island’s unique biodiversity. Watersheds are also home to threatened animal and plant wildlife,” she said.