Issue of August 28, 2011
     
NEWS
Abra
Benguet
Mt. Province
 
OPINION
 

102nd Baguio Day Anniversary Issue
 
Other Links:
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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