By MICHAEL UMAMING
SAGADA, Mountain Province — This municipality, in partnership with the Cordillera Highland Agricultural Resource Management Program (CHARMP) held a municipal water summit last May 26 to 27, 2011 at the Sagada National High School.
The summit was attended by representatives of the town’s 19 barangays and is aimed to serve as input to the plan to pass a Sagada Water Code and formulate a Sagada Watershed Protection Plan.
Jane Likigan, Municipal Planning and Development Officer said the nineteen baran-gays of this resort town including those from the northern zone are facing water problems during the summer, which is also the peak season of tourism.
The town had long been eyeing the Buasao Watershed to solve its domestic water problem. However, it has to negotiate with the Pidlisan tribe in its northern zone, the Agawa tribe in the town of Besao (Mountain Province) and the Tubo tribe in the Abra.
Mathew Tauli, head of the Montanosa Research Development Center (MRDC) which forged a partnership with CHARMP said that one water source in Buasao discharges 39 liters of water per second when its staff last visited the area in March this year. Buasao could be reached in six hours by foot from the town center.
Some elders of Pidlisan expressed reservation in allowing the municipal government to tap the source by saying that it shall be the hotel owners of the poblacion who shall benefit the most.
“Sadat kanan ay inbingay mi isnan taga Poblacion ya tapin di barangay dapay kadi nan wada mabalin na nan nen-benipisyo (then they will say that we shared our watersource to poblacion and other baran-gays when it is actually the rich who are benifitting most)? ” they said.
In the summit Dr. Rowena Boquiren of Philippine Conservation International shared the concept of Payment for Ecological Services (PES) which is now a policy in the Philippine Medium Term Development Plan (MTPDP). “PES considers compensating those who hosts an ecological wealth as just and fair,” Boquiren said.
The summit was triggered by CHARMP’s watershed program and an 18 million fund from the office of Senator Teofisto Guingona III which the municipal government accessed for its waterworks. # nordis.net