The newly created Technical Working Committee (TWC) on Special Use Agreement in Protected Areas (SAPA) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Calabarzon convenes for the first time on August 11, 2020 to review the SAPA application and Comprehensive Development and Management Plan (CDMP) of Wawa Joint Venture Company, Inc. (Wawa JVCo, Inc.) for its project within the Upper Marikina River Basin Protected Landscape in Antipolo and Rodriguez, Rizal.

The project, titled “Tayabasan Multi-Basin System – Wawa Bulk Water Supply Project”, is the first development project inside a protected area in Calabarzon which may be issued with a SAPA after 10 years.

Initially governed by the DENR Administrative Order No. 2007-17 dated July 25, 2007, SAPA is a binding instrument between the DENR through the Protected Area Management Board as the first party, and a second party which may include indigenous peoples, tenured migrants, local government units, other government agencies, and other stakeholders including corporations, cooperatives, business entities, non-government organizations, etc. for the activities and introduction of developments such as but not limited to ecotourism and communication facilities, camp sites, transmission lines, irrigation waterways, rights-of-way, aqua culture, and scientific monitoring stations.

Since the issuance of the said order, the regional department was able to facilitate the approval of seven SAPA applications, the most recent of which was for the construction and maintenance of the transmitter tower of Digitel Mobile Telephone Philippines, Inc. inside the Buenavista Protected Landscape in Brgy. Buenavista, Mulanay, Quezon, issued February 8, 2010.

In 2011, the issuance of SAPA was suspended due to the absence of a standard rate for the development fee imposed on applicants. The moratorium on the implementation of DAO 2007-17 was lifted on March 15, 2018, the same date as the issuance of the DAO 2018-05 containing the guidelines and principles in determining development fees for access to and sustainable use of resources in protected areas.  On July 2, 2020, new DENR Calabarzon Assistant Regional Director for Technical Services (ARD-TS), Alfredo C. Palencia initiated the discussion on the creation of a Regional TWC on SAPA in accordance with the new department order. 

Officially created on August 10, 2020, the Regional TWC on SAPA is composed of the Regional Executive Director (RED) as its Chair, ARD-TS as Vice Chair, and the Division Chiefs under the Technical Services, Legal Division Chief, National Greening Program Regional Coordinator, Provincial and/or Community ENRO, and Protected Area Superintendent as members.

Records of the DENR Calabarzon show that only the SAPA application of Wawa JVCo, Inc. was endorsed to the regional department for appropriate action. Hence, the same was immediately subjected to the review of the TWC one day after the Committee’s creation.

Per agreements during the TWC meeting, the proponent must submit the revised CDMP per comments of the Committee, on the following day. By August 14, 2020, RED Nonito M. Tamayo shall endorse the SAPA application and the revised CDMP to the DENR Central Office for the approval of the same.

At present, no SAPA application is pending for review of the Regional TWC. Nonetheless, the regional department expects to receive applications in the near future given that information dissemination is being undertaken by the Protected Area Management Offices.###