Isabela watershed priority site for sustainable development

TUGUEGARAO CITY — A watershed in the forest-rich province of Isabela is one of the 29 priority sites in the implementation of the Sustainable Integrated Area Development (SIAD) in the country.

Located within the Northern Sierra Madre Natural Park, the watershed where the “Divilacan Agroforestry and Bamboo Plantation Project” will be implemented consists of several sub-watersheds located at the mid section and upper portion of Divilacan,Isabela, said Atty. Gil A. Aromin regional director of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Region 2.

The site has an aggregate area of 12,045 hectares covering six barangays and basin length of approximately 12,500 meters, Aromin said.

“The Divilacan Watershed is a home for endemic plants; abundant rattan and nito for handicraft making. These livelihood opportunities were considered in selecting the site.”, Aromin said.

The SIAD project will be managed by the Asosasyon ng Nagmamalasakit ng Kalikasan (ANAK) and Divilacan Agta Rattan Gatherers Association (DARAGAT) in partnership with the Local Government Unit of Divilacan, National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP), and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

SIAD aims to apply area-based interventions, concepts on its natural resources development programs including but not limited to national greening program and integrated island development. It takes into consideration Marginalized civil society organization (CSO) Sectors including, but not limited to Indigenous Peoples (IPs), urban poor, farmers and fisherfolk, Muslim Filipinos, rebel returnees, youth, vocational work force, and men and women stakeholders.

The adoption of SIAD as a strategy is authorized by Memorandum Circular No. 2017-02 issued by DENR Secretary Regina Paz L. Lopez on Feb. 15, 2017.

The area where the project is located is known to have three species of Makabuhay used to treat stomach ache and dysmenorrhoea according to the Dumagats or Agtas, the Indigenous People in Divilacan. Tsaang gubat also thrives in the area.

Within the site, a 100-hectare area in Barangay Ditarum will be developed for the Enhanced National Greening Program.

The DENR will also deputize 27 Forest Protection Officers for the six barangays. SCDilan/PNA-northboundasia.com