Sato bats for law calling protection of 9 Mindoro watersheds
To protect the nine critical watersheds in her area of jurisdiction, Occidental Mindoro Lone District Rep. Josephine Ramirez Sato has filed House Bill 4617 or the Mindoro Watershed Reservation Act.
The proposed law seeks to declare as watershed reservations nine critical watershed on Mindoro Island, covering a total of 317,431.5 hectares in Occidental and Oriental Mindoro.
These are the Amnay, Busuanga, Caguray, Calawagan, Lumintao, Mamburao, Mongpong, Pagbahan, and Patrict Watersheds.
Under the lady politiko’s proposed measure, the watersheds covered by the proposed measure will be under the joint administrative jurisdiction, supervision and control of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Provincial Governments of Occidental and Oriental Mindoro.
The measure seeks to create a Multi-Sectoral Management Council to act as oversight and policy-making body over the watersheds in accordance with existing laws, rules and regulations, and recognizes the rights of indigenous cultural communities and indigenous peoples to their ancestral domain as mandated under Republic Act 8371 or the Indigenous People’s Rights Act of 1997 (IPRA).
The Multi-Sectoral Management 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.
Sato said to protect watersheds, it must be defined, and protected by law that will put in place the appropriate management systems with adequate budgetary allocations by concerned government agencies.
“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.
Occidental Mindoro is home to a number of key biodiversity areas, which have been declared as a Protected Area under NIPAS Act. These include Mts. Iglit-Baco National Park – home to the Philippine tamaraw, and the Calavite and F.B. Harrison Game Refuge and Wildlife Sanctuary.
Championing biodiversity conservation, Sato supports the PLAN to localize the Philippine Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plans (PBSAP) 2015-2028 and biodiversity financing, which will be pilot-tested on Mindoro Island.
The PBSAP is the country’s blueprint to protect and conserve its rich biodiversity.
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