ERDB-WWRRDEC joined the Kapihan para sa Kalikasan 2023 with DENR-CAR and other lined agencies on May 24, 2023 to promote public awareness on the DENR Priority Thrust and Programs of the current administration.

The ERDB- Watershed and Water Resources Research Development and Extension Center (WWRRDEC) joined the panel of speakers of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources-CAR team during the Kapihan para sa Kalisakan at DENR-CAR Regional Office, Pacdal, Baguio City on May 24, 2023.

The panel of speakers composing of DENR-CAR OIC Assistant Regional Director (ARD) Engr. Benjamin A. Ventura for Technical Services, DENR-CAR OIC ARD Atty. Marcos E. Bias for Management Services, Division Chief Benigno Cesar L. Espejo of Geosciences Division, Engr. Ricardo P. Dang-iw of EMB-CAR, and Ms. Helen A. Maddumba of WWRRDEC was led by DENR-CAR Regional Executive Director (RED) Engr. Ralph C. Pablo.

The Kapihan para sa Kalikasan 2023 is a press conference initiated by DENR-CAR to highlight DENR’s Priority Thrust and Programs and Theory of Change as well as to inform the public on different activities for the Environment Month celebration 2023.

RED Pablo presented the DENR’s Priority Thrusts and shared DENR Secretary Loyzaga’s key messages in the efficient realization of the Priority programs.

He mentioned that Sec. Loyzaga has emphasized the need to establish the national natural resources geospatial database for unified and strategic actions; advance and implement the natural capital accounting system; undertake collaborative research and development to enhance, restore, regenerate natural resources and develop adaptive capacities of communities; and innovate by adopting digital information and communication technologies.

“We are lucky here in CAR to have been in partnership with the Philippine Statistics Authority. Hence, we have already finished the valuation of our land, timber, water, and mineral accounts”, he said.

RED Pablo also shared the DENR-CAR’s plan to coordinate with other regions for the maintenance of the Cordillera watersheds.

“We are the watershed cradle of the North. We provide water resources utilized by the other regions. If we will not clean our rivers, definitely madumi yung bababa. So, we talked about the possibility of putting funds for the maintenance of all our resources para yung adjoining regions will benefit,” he furthered.

Meanwhile, WWRRDEC Center Head Ms. Helen A. Maddumba presented the Center’s ongoing projects and accomplishments such as the Water Balance Estimation of Selected Watersheds in Luzon, GIS-based Forecasting Model for Early Detection of Potential Bark Beetle Outbreak in Disturbed and Undisturbed Benguet Pine Forests in Baguio City, SAFE for Forest Fire Hazards in the Watersheds of Bokod and Tublay, Benguet using Maguey as Greenbelt, and Ensuring the Sustainable Benefits from Peatlands through Protection and Wise Use.

Ms. Maddumba shared the center’s shift of focus on its area of jurisdiction from regions 1, 2 ,3 and CAR to national scope as an opportunity to widen research activities to come up with results that can contribute to national policies especially on freshwater management.

The Maguey Greenbelt as a Forest Fire Hazard was also emphasized as essential in protecting the Cordillera forests. Apart from being a fire hazard, the study is looking into its fiber utilization as a possible livelihood for the community.

Ms. Helen A. Maddumba, WWRRDEC Center Head, presented updates on the ongoing projects and researchers of the center during the Kapihan para sa Kalikasan on May 24, 2023 livestreamed via PIA, PTV and DENR Official Facebook Pages.

In closing the program, Engr. Pablo discouraged the public in converting forests to agricultural lands, especially the mossy forests.

He urged public to plant agroforestry species which are high value crops like rambutan, guyabano, and cacao.

“Our forests are our common home, we have to protect it together,” he added.

Updates and other joint activities for the Environmental Month were presented by other DENR line agencies.

The press conference was livestreamed via the Philippine Information Agency (PIA), PTV and DENR Official Facebook Pages. Chamanei C. Elias, WWRRDEC