Calls for rehabilitation of Benguet river renewed

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BAGUIO CITY: The Balili River System Revitalization Coalition (BRSRC) composed of government agencies, academe and private organizations have renewed their commitment to rehabilitate the Balili River.

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A new memorandum of agreement (MOA) for the continuing pledge and support of the different local government units, agencies and other stakeholders from the private sector for the Balili River System Revitalization Program was signed during the second quarter Water Quality Management Area (WQMA) meeting here.

The program aims to harmonize efforts of the local governments of La Trinidad, Sablan, Tublay and Baguio City, non-government organizations, and civil society groups in protection, preservation and revival of the river system.

The program, which seeks to reduce, if not eliminate, pollution sources and impacts of harmful activities through an integrated management approach, will be implemented from 2014 to 2016.

Among the roles and responsibilities of the parties in the new MOA include the establishment of a local government task force or local implementation team for the Sagudin-Balili River Program. The local government units (LGUs) should also agree on the coordination and communication structure for the effective execution of the program, including the obligation of the staff nominated to take part in program events and report back on the outcomes for such events to their seniors and other relevant colleagues.

The national government agencies assist will the LGUs on the national framework and policy relative to sustainable water resource management, and at the same time provide financial and technical assistance in implementing programs for the Balili River System WQMA.

Mayor Arthur Baldo of Sablan, Benguet, one of the signatories of the MOA, said that the signing by the different stakeholders of the agreement means that they are committed to continue and strengthen the coalition to rehabilitate the Balili River, which was used by residents for swimming, fishing and other domestic uses in the past.

He said that the support of each stakeholder is very important to make sure that the aim to bring back the old beauty and the life of the river, which also supports agricultural production and hydro power generation in Baguio City and Benguet province.

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