The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) CALABARZON inked an agreement with DENR-Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) CALABARZON, C-Joy Poultry Meat Production, Inc. and local government units of Barangay Sta. Teresita in Santo Tomas City and Barangays Plaridel, Lumbang and San Lucas in Lipa City for the protection, rehabilitation and safeguarding of a 4-kilometer portion of Tigiro River that is connected to San Juan River.

Malaking bagay ang pribadong sektor at lokal na pamahalaan sa effort na ito,” DENR CALABARZON Regional Executive Director Nilo B. Tamoria acknowledged the initiative of C-Joy Poultry Meats and the said barangay LGUs to conserve, protect and develop the said river.

In the agreement, the private sector agrees to lead in the conduct of river clean-up activities in the area during environmental celebrations and in the conduct of information drives regarding the importance of riverbank stabilization and river protection. They shall coordinate with the barangay LGUs and landowners on the stabilization of the riverbanks and improvement of the river’s water quality. They will be the one to provide tree guards and quality bamboo planting materials and other suitable forest tree species, participate in tree planting activities in the area, and ensure the survival of bamboo and trees planted.

The barangay LGUs, on the other hand, shall lead the site preparation, pass and implement an Ordinance for the protection of the newly planted trees from stray animals and other man-made destruction, work with the private sector in ensuring the survival of the bamboo and trees planted, actively participate in all other activities for the protection, conservation and development of the river, and endeavor to relocating the informal settlers along the riverbank by informing the proper agency that has jurisdiction on the matter.

Tamoria highlighted the important roles of the LGUs in the initiative and emphasized the need to work hand-in-hand with the concerned stakeholders for the overall success of the program. “At the end of the day, ang local government units ang naiiwan sa area. Sila ang nandoon 24/7 kaya po kami sa national government agency, nandito po ang aming mandates, pero ang success ng effort natin for the protection and conservation of the environment lies sa pagtutulung-tulong po nating lahat”, he said.

In the agreement, the DENR CALABARZON through the Regional EMB and Provincial and Community Environment and Natural Resources Offices concerned are responsible for the provision of technical assistance in riverbank stabilization, capacity building, and all other activities pertaining to the rehabilitation, protection, conservation, and management of Tigiro River.

Though the agreement encompasses four barangays, Tamoria clarified that the department knows no boundaries in implementing its mandate. “Ang DENR po ay walang tinatawag na ‘political boundary’. Ang tubig po na nanggagaling sa taas ay nag-e-end up sa baba. Kung ano man po ang nangyayari sa headwaters at sa lake ay may impact sa kalaliman ng dagat at sa reef, he explained.

He stressed that the agreement is a step towards sustainable development. “Ang effort natin ngayon ay isang malaking bagay para makapag-contribute sa pagsu-sustain ng integrity ng ating environment. And this is not just for us, but most importantly, for the next generations”, he said.

The agreement has a period of one year and may be renewed thereafter upon mutual agreement of the parties.###