Watershed reservations will soon be established in different municipalities in Occidental and Oriental Mindoro with House Committee on Natural Resources approving Cong. Josephine Ramirez – Sato‘s House Bill 266.
Entitled “An Act Establishing Watershed Reservations in Abra de Ilog, Calintaan, Magsaysay, Mamburao, Paluan, Rizal, Sablayan, Sta. Cruz, and San Jose in OkSi, and Bulalacao, Mansalay, Puerto Galera, and San Teodoro in Oriental Mindoro” , it intends ensure the availability and continued supply of water for agricultural, industrial, and commercial use.
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As stated in bill’s explanatory note, Cong. Sato hopes to establish the following watershed reservations:
- Amnay Watershed – Covering the area of Municipalities of Sablayan and Sta. Cruz in the Province of Occidental Mindoro and portion of San Teodor and Naujan in the Province of Oriental Mindoro with an area of 51,667.28 hectares
- Busuanga Watershed – Covering the Municipalities of Calintaan, Rizal and San Jose in the Province of Occidental Mindoro and portion of Bongabong and Mansalay in the Province of Oriental Mindoro, with an area of 56,878.65 hectares, more or less.
- Caguray Watershed – Covering the Municipalities of San Jose and Magsaysay in the Province of Occidental Mindoro and portion of Mansalay and Bulalacao in the Province of Oriental Mindoro, with an area of 46,751.04 hectares, more less
- Calawagan Watershed – Situated in the Municipality of Paluan in the Province of Occidental Mindoro with area of more or less 2,283.006 hectares.
- Lamintao Watershed – Covering the Municipalities of Sablayan, Calintaan, and Rizal in the Province of Occidental MIndoro with an area of more or less 37,300 hectares
- Mamburao Watershed – Covering the Municipalities of Mamburao, Abra de Ilog and Paluan in the Province of Occidental Mindoro with an area of more or less 39,400 hectares.
- Mongpong Watershed – Situated in the Municipality of Sablayan in the Province of Occidental Mindoro with an area of more or less 33,526.75 hectares.
- Pagbahan Watershed – Covering the Municipalities of Mamburao, Abra de Ilog, and Sta. Cruz in the Province of Occidental Mindoro and Municipalities of Puerto Galera of Oriental Mindro with an area of more or less 5,667.29 hectares.
- Patrick Watershed – Situated in the Municipality of Sablayan in the Province of Occidental Mindoro with an area of more or less 43,957.43 hectares.
As approved, “it shall be under the joint administrative jurisdiction, supervision and control of the Department of Natural Resources (DENR) and the Provincial Governments of Occidental and Oriental Mindoro.”
A Sectoral Watershed Management Council shall also be created “to act as oversight and policy making body over the watershed in accordance with existing laws, rules and regulations.”
The rights and traditional property regimes exercised by the indigenous people living in the area shall be recognized in accordance to Section 56 of R.A. 8371 and Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Act of 1997.
To be known as the “Mindoro Watershed Reservations Act”, its funding shall come from DENR to be included in the annual General Appropriations Act.
According to Cong. Sato, the approved Mindoro Watershed Reservations Act shall complement the Expanded National Integrated Protected System (ENIPAS) Act of 2018 which she also authored.
“In June, President Rodrigo Duterte signed into law the Expanded National Integrated Protected Areas System (ENIPAS) Act of 2018, after BIOFIN Philippines worked tirelessly with Congresswoman Josephine Ramirez-Sato to craft this new piece of legislation that would mobilize resources for biodiversity conservation in the country.
The ENIPAS Act declares 94 new national parks as protected areas. These protected areas are now under the management of the national government, ensuring a regular annual budget for its conservation.
The Act allows collection of funds from environmental compliance certificates (ECC) and special use permits from industries operating within these protected areas, and imposes stricter fines for violators.
These funds go straight to a trust fund called the Integrated Protected Area Fund (IPAF), which is then channeled back to conservation projects.
The new law is an amendment to the National Protected Areas System (NIPAS) Act of 1992, which declared the protection of 13 areas. These 13 protected areas (PAs) received regular government funding unlike those PAs covered by presidential proclamations or executive orders that were considered only as initial components and thus, could be disestablished perfunctorily.
The reformed PA law increases the number of protected areas to 107 and strengthens the status of these protected areas through improved structures and mechanisms.”DENR – Foreign Assisted And Special Projects Service (Philippines signs into law protection of 94 new areas)
It will also strengthen her recently filed bill entitled AN ACT DECLARING THE ISLAND OF MINDORO A MINING FREE-ZONE AND PROVIDING PENALTIES THEREFOR, or HB 6082.