Wednesday, 08 July 2020

LGU Sarangani, partners roll out P103-M Saub watershed rehab project

ALABEL, Sarangani (January 31, 2019) – The local government unit (LGU) of Sarangani on Tuesday (January 29) forged an agreement with its westernmost town Maitum, Mindanao State University (MSU), Mahintana Foundation, Inc. and Conrado and Ladislawa Alcantara Foundation, Inc. (CLAFI) for the rehabilitation of the 7.9-hectare Saub watershed ecosystem in Maitum.

The memorandum of agreement (MOA) signed, according to Governor Steve Chiongbian Solon, also sets forth the terms and conditions for the expected release next month of the P93.5 million grant from the national government’s flagship finance climate program People’s Survival Fund (PSF).

Solon said a grant negotiation with Finance Secretary and PSF Board chairperson Carlos Dominguez III is slated soon to finally facilitate the grant download and set off the project’s first phase implementation within the first quarter this year.

Solon said it took LGU Sarangani and its partners three years before the board approved the project on July 6, 2018.

The project, dubbed as Watershed Ecosystem Rehabilitation and Flood Risk Reduction for Increased Resilience, would cost a total of P103 million with counterpart fund sharing of P93,597,439.90 from the PSF and the P9,325,125.10 from LGU Sarangani.

The PSF, which was created by Republic Act No. 9729 also known as Climate Change Act of 2009 and amended by Republic Act No. 10174, aims to help vulnerable communities prepare for such adverse climatic events.

It is a special fund in the National Treasury for the financing of adaptation programs and projects based on the National Strategic Framework on Climate Change with at least P1 billion annual supplementary allocations to relevant climate-related program funding of the local government units.

According to Sarangani Environmental Conservation and Protection Center (ECPC) executive director Cornelio Ramirez, the project would improve the resilience of Saub watershed ecosystem to flood and other associated risks caused by climate change variability.

A report from ECPC said “flooding is the most common hazard experienced in the area. Flood susceptibility is computed to be 10,001 hectares for high, 5,881.65 hectares for moderate and 2,604.26 hectares for low.”

The Saub watershed encompasses nine barangays with a total of 1,747 households living along the 100-meter riparian zone which are placed at high risk exposure to flooding and other climate hazards.

Extreme flooding had also caused destruction to agricultural and structural properties, including loss of lives since 2010.

Mayor Alexander Bryan Reganit said it was in 2016 that he lobbied to Governor Solon for the rehab of Saub watershed.

“Madami na po itong naidulot ng baha sa amin. Marami na pong nasira na mga lupa. Kahit sa Poblacion Maitum po makaabot po s’ya dahil sa lakas ng tubig,” Reganit lamented.

Solon expressed excitement over the project which is Sarangani’s biggest environmental project so far to be implemented in the early months of 2019.

In a span of three years, the project is expected to develop Saub watershed ecosystem resiliency and community protection through watershed governance, build the capacities of Maitum LGU, development partners, beneficiaries and other stakeholders to adapt to flood risks and other impacts of climate change variability, alleviate poverty through agro-forestry development, and establish riverbank protection.

The provincial government of Sarangani will manage the overall implementation of the project and will be working closely with LGU Maitum which will provide technical, administrative and other support in all stages of the project implementation.

MSU, Mahintana and CLAFI will provide technical assistance in research, formulation of Saub Watershed Management Plan, project monitoring and evaluation, among others. (Beverly C. Paoyon/SARANGANI COMMUNICATIONS SERVICE)

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