BAGUIO CITY: The Chico River System and Mount Pulag National Park have been designated as priority areas for implementation of the Sustainable Integrated Area Development Management (SIADM) by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Cordillera Administrative Region (DENR-CAR).
DENR-CAR Director Ralph Pablo said the SIADM approach was introduced by DENR Secretary Regina Lopez to improve the general well-being of the people while sustaining the integrity of the ecosystem.
The approach, he added, brings together all the stakeholders in development and management of identified areas.
It seeks social justice through implementation of environmental protection programs that would increase the growth potential of select sites nationwide.
The Chico River stretches from the provinces of Ifugao, Mountain Province, Kalinga and Apayao in the Cordillera region and through several municipalities in Cagayan province before flowing to the Cagayan River, while the Mount Pulag National Park is located in the boundaries of the provinces of Benguet, Ifugao and Nueva Vizcaya.
Juan Miguel Cana, DENR assistant secretary for field operations in Luzon, said through the SIADM the agency will make these identified areas self-sustaining in a well-protected environment and with people happy because they are free from hunger and poverty.
He added that the project will provide alternative sources of livelihood that promote the preservation of the environment and natural resources.
The areas will be evaluated based on available resources, as well as their needs.
The evaluation will become basis for determining possible livelihood opportunities similar to those in established ecotourism zones like the La Mesa Ecopark in Quezon City (Metro Manila) and Ugong Rock and Iwahig Firefly Watching in Puerto Princesa, Palawan.
Meanwhile, Kalinga Rep. Allen Jesse Mangaoang expressed optimism over the DENR’S convergence project that ensures the watershed areas of the Cordillera region are well protected, at the same time providing livelihood to the communities particularly for the various indigenous peoples in Mount Pulag and the Chico River.