By KIMBERLIE N. QUITASOL
LA TRINIDAD, Benguet — Behavioral change among stakeholders is the key to the revitalization of the Balili River System, members of the Balili River System Revitalization Coalition (BRSRC) reiterated.
La Trinidad Mayor Greg Abalos pointed out that while stricter implementation of laws on waste disposal and inland water protection would help mitigate the dumping of garbage to the Balili River, behavioral change among all stakeholders would be more effective in reviving it. He added that as long as people regard the river as a garbage dump then the implementation of the law could only do so much.
“We should develop a new culture not just for the river but for the environment as a whole,” he stressed.
Abalos explained that it should be inculcated in the minds especially of residents of communities adjacent to the river that they are the guardians and protector of Balili.
He further said the importance of protecting the river should be instilled among the young ones because they will be the future guardians. He disclosed that the coalition is coming up with a 10-15 minute audio visual production to educate daycare kids on river protection. “We should start them young,” he stressed.
According to Dr. Aurea Marie M. Sandoval, dean of the College of Arts of the Benguet State University (BSU), the biological and social component of the coalition’s research must go together. She stressed that behavior of stakeholders affects the biological and chemical state of the river.
Sandoval said that her group is still collating the results of the biological and chemical samples they have taken from Balili. She, however, disclosed that the group is not expecting good results given the current state of the river.
Edna Tabanda, president of the Philippine Health and Social Science Association-Cordillera agreed that there is a need to stregthen the discipline of the people adding that aside from pollution, encroachment on the river banks is also a problem.
Tabanda also said the role of civil society is vital for any government project to succeed. She reiterated that the information and education campaign being conducted by the coalition aims to generate support from the wider public and to mobilize them to participate in reviving Balili. # nordis.net