Posted on 11:16 PM, May 09, 2010 [ BusinessWorld Online ]
PRESIDENT GLORIA Macapagal-Arroyo has declared a parcel of land in Baguio City as a watershed to ensure enough supply of water that will propel turbines of hydroelectric dams, and provide for irrigation and consumers in Northern Luzon.
Mrs. Arroyo has issued Proclamation 2035 on April 6 to designate a 9,593-square meter parcel of land in Barangay Pucsusan, Baguio City as watershed reservation.
Watersheds are elevated, forested lands that drain water to river systems. An area declared as watershed reservation is protected by law from illegal logging and conversion into farmlands as well as real estate development.
"I... hereby withdraw from sale or settlement and reserve for watershed purposes, subject to private rights, if any there be, a parcel of land situated in Barangay Pucsusan, Baguio City...," Mrs. Arroyo said in the proclamation.
The president said the declaration was made upon the recommendation of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
Local government officials in Northern Luzon have earlier raised the alarm on the possible depletion of river systems owing to the conversion of watersheds into vegetable plantations, which will eventually threaten water supply for irrigation, tap water and electricity.
Mrs. Arroyo has earlier issued similar directives, with Proclamation 1747 issued on March 2009 aimed at protecting 43,601-hectare of forested land in Agusan del Norte from exploitation of mining companies to ensure water supply for irrigation in the region.
A similar directive, Proclamation 1336 issued on July 2007, declared the La Mesa Watershed in the cities of Quezon and Caloocan and Rodriguez, Rizal as a watershed reservation for the benefit of residents of Metro Manila, while 4,350 hectares of land in Roxas City, Capiz was designated as Panay River Watershed Forest Reserve Area through Proclamation 599 in October 2007. -- Gerard S. dela Peña