Issue of August 28, 2011
Mt. Province

102nd Baguio Day Anniversary Issue
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MOU inked in bid to save Balili River system
by Harley Palangchao

Public support is being urged after elected leaders and academe officials led the signing Wednesday of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for the Balili River joint revitalization program. 

The MOU outlines the respective roles of the respective agencies from the government and private sector, including partners from the civil society in a bid to protect the river from deterioration. 

“The Balili River system revitalization project aims to harmonize efforts of the local government units of La Trinidad and Baguio City and partners in the protection, preservation and revival of the Balili River System,” reads the MOU. 

The overall goal is to rehabilitate the Balili River within a three-year period from 2011 to 2014 and enroll it as a water quality management area through the Environment Management Bureau of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
Leading the MOU signing were La Trinidad Mayor Gregorio Abalos Jr., Raffy Tallocoy, representing Baguio Mayor Mauricio Domogan, University of the Philippines-Baguio Chancellor Prescilla Macansantos, and Benguet State University Assistant Vice President Alfredo Tipayno. 

The MOU noted the indiscriminate disposal of wastes into the Balili River system and its tributaries, including other anthropogenic activities by and in the river, has rendered the river quality degraded. 

Higher learning institutions like UP Baguio, BSU, University of the Cordilleras, University of Baguio, Saint Louis University and other academe partners will provide scientific support  to La Trinidad and the city government. 

Aside from technical assistance, UC President Dr. Ricardo Pama said that higher learning institutions can provide manpower by mobilizing thousands of students enrolled in the National Service Training Program to help clean up the Balili River. 

Abalos also echoed a proposal for the city to build a giant sewer instead of spending millions in wrecking paved roads then re-paving them again.

“This is an opinion of a barangay captain in the city which I am ventilating since it is worthy of consideration,” he said.

The support of the national government is also being encouraged considering that the project puts into practice the Philippine Clean Water Act of 2004, which mandates the protection, preservation and revival of the country’s water resources. 

But even if stakeholders of the project are doing their mandate, advocates for the preservation of the Balili River are appealing to residents of Baguio and La Trinidad to do their part by not indiscriminately disposing their wastes into the river.
The Balili River has been identified in the DENR’s 2003 Pollution Report as one of the 15 among the 94 principal river basins in the country that are “biologically dead” rivers.  

From Baguio, the river runs through La Trinidad valley and meanders to the northwest into Payung River and Naguilian River as it empties into the Lingayen Gulf, according to the study made by the SLU School of Engineering. 

The study further said the river system is an important resource for residents of Baguio and La Trinidad because it serves several important domestic, agricultural and economic purposes.

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Baguio Central University
Lepanto Consolidated Mining Company
MMS Development Training Center Corporation
Pines City Colleges
SM City Baguio
Technical Education & Skills Development Authority
University of Baguio

Abanao Square
Brent International School
Data Center College of the Philippines
Gov. Leonard G. Mayaen
Interlink Security Management Corp.
Mayor Mauricio Domogan
Medline International Training Institute of Baguio
Pag-IBIG Fund
Philex Mining Corporation
Pines City Colleges
Pugad Pugo Adventure
Rep. Ronald M. Cosalan
SN Aboitiz
Texas Instruments
UP Baguio

Assumption Medical Diagnostic Center, Inc.
Baguio City Council
Baguio Memorial Chapels, Inc.
Baguio Water District
BSBT College
Curamed Pharmacy
Department of Agrarian Reform - CAR
Department of Agriculture–RFO–CAR
Department of Public Works and Highways - CAR
Department of Trade and Industry – CAR
Fabulo Beauty & Image Salon
Far East Pacific Commercial
Filipino – Japanese Foundation of Northern Luzon, Inc.
Forest House
GMS Technology
Goshen Land
Governor Nestor B. Fongwan
Healthforce1 Nursing Review Center
Heidelberg Philippines, Inc.
Hotel Elizabeth
Jaime V. Ongpin Foundation, Inc.
Kalapaw Restaurant
Maybank - Baguio Branch
Mayor Greg T. Abalos Jr.
Nagomi Spa
National Police Commission - Philippine National Police - Police Regional Office - CAR
NIIT – Baguio
Nova Lodge
Philippine Women’s University – CDCEC Baguio City, Inc.
Philippines Science High School – CAR
Rep. Bernardo Vergara
Rep. Maximo Dalog
Sangguniang Panlalawigan
Small World Christian School Foundation
The Golden Pine Hotel
VTA International Realty Corporation
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