GENERAL SANTOS CITY (March 7, 2023) – The Provincial Local Government Unit (LGU) of Sarangani, through its Project Implementation and Monitoring Unit (PIMU) for the Saub Watershed Ecosystem Resiliency and Protection, started crafting its Saub Integrated Watershed Management Plan (SIWMP) on February 28.
This is in accordance with the implementation of the Saub Watershed Ecosystem Rehabilitation and Flood Risk Reduction for Increased Resilience project.
This rehabilitation initiative is chaired by Governor Rogelio D. Pacquiao and started during the tenure of Congressman Steve Chiongbian Solon as the governor of the province.
This project targets to develop the Saub Watershed Ecosystem Resiliency and Protection through watershed governance, building the capacities of LGUs to adapt to flood risks and other impacts of climate change variability, alleviating poverty through agro-forestry development, and establishing riverbank protection.
The project costs P103 million, with counterpart fund sharing of about P93.5 million from the People’s Survival Fund and P9.33 million from the province.
Saub River Watershed situated in Maitum covers a total land area of 7,931.48 hectares, covering nine barangays, including Kiayap, Malalag, Old Poblacion, Mabay, and Sison; Zion; Kalaneg and Batian for Sub-Watershed 1; and New La Union for Sub-Watershed 2.
It has a total of 1,747 households living in the area, which encompasses a total length of 24,132.86 kilometers and is placed at high risk of exposure to flooding and other climate hazards.
According to Cornelio Ramirez Jr., Sarangani-based Environmental Conservation and Protection Center Executive Director, "flooding" is the most common hazard experienced in the area.
"Flood susceptibility here is computed to be 10,001 hectares for high, 5,881.65 hectares for moderate, and 2,604.26 hectares for low," Ramirez said.
He added that extreme flooding had caused destruction to agricultural and structural properties, "including loss of lives since 2010".
Through its partner organizations, such as the Conrado and Ladislawa Alcantara Foundation, Inc., Mahintana Foundation, Inc., Department of Environment and Natural Resources Office XII (DENR), DENR-PENRO, CENRO-KIAMBA, Maitum LGU, and Mindanao State University, the following components will be implemented:
(1) Establishment of the Saub Watershed Management Plan and Watershed Management Office;
(2) Capacity-building activities and research on watershed management;
(3) Agroforestry development through deep-rooted fruit trees in the upland to avoid landslides and the establishment of demo farms;
(4) Agroforestry development along riverbanks; and improvement of Communal Irrigation System through spillway to regulate floodwater and avoid river siltation.
During the time of Governor Solon, Sarangani was the first province in the country to access the People's Survival Fund, amounting to P103 million for the flood control and watershed ecosystem rehabilitation project in the Saub River. (Joshua John S. Pantonial/SARANGANI PROVINCIAL INFORMATION OFFICE)
Photos by Mosler Paul Lapore