Mr. Diosdado A. Estigoy of WWRRDEC in Baguio City serves as resource speaker during the action planning of 9 barangays of MLGU Buguias on water-related policy implementation in the Upper Agno River Basin.

Increasing the knowledge of the LGU participants on the major environmental problems particulary on water-related policies is important especially in preparing the municipal environment code. In line with this, the Watershed and Water Resources Research, Development and Extension Center (WWRRDEC) conducted a training-workshop entitled “Capability Building for Water-related Policy Implementation in the Upper Agno River Basin at the Municipality of Buguias” on February 27, 2020 in Baguio City.

During the workshop, the major issues and problems identified included the chemical pollution of waterways coming from the improper use of insecticides and fertilizers, degraded watershed areas and increasing shortage of water. To address these issues, the participants agreed that policies must be put in place to prevent and/or mitigate the degradation of their environment and natural resources.

An action plan was facilitated towards this objective. Among the priority policies that would be prepared is the Environmental Code of Buguias. The MLGU participants, under the leadership of Honorable Mayor Ronald Kimakim, will craft the Environmental Code towards strengthening the protection, conservation, management, development and sustainable use of natural resources in the municipality. They will adopt and integrate the concept of resource valuation, users’ fee and payment of environmental services into the environmental code that will be crafted. This is one of the LGU’s strategies to enjoin the local stakeholders and other users of the natural resources of Buguias.

The barangay officials from nine (9) barangays of Buguias and other partner-stakeholders attended the training-workshop. Break-out sessions resulted into four (4) action plans that shall catalyze the formulation and eventual issuance of more water-related and environmental local policies in the municipality. Representatives from the Conservation and Development Division, and Regional Public Affairs Office (RPAO) of DENR-CAR, PENRO Benguet and CENRO Buguias actively led the workshop during the break-out sessions. They will also be instrumental in the monitoring of the action plans which were calendared for implementation during the year.

In addition, three (3) local officials from LGU Buguias shall be invited to participate in implementing action plans, which were formulated for the crafting and issuance of local water-related policies, during a radio broadcast scheduled to be held in April 2020. The activities are part of the Strategic Communication and Development Plan of WWRRDEC, which is being implemented in collaboration with DENR-CAR, for a more effective water-related policy implementation in the Upper Agno River Basin. Minda S. Odsey, WWRRDEC