Fencing of Busol forest to continue amidst snags

>> Tuesday, July 4, 2017

By Dexter A. See 

BAGUIO CITY – Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan said government agencies, local government and private partners will still pursue fencing of the Baguio portion of the Busol watershed amidst several snags like land problems which could be resolved through relocation surveys and consultation with concerned parties.
Domogan commended the Baguio Regreening Movement, Baguio Water District and Dept. of Environment and Natural Resources for collaborating with the city government to complete fencing of a portion of the watershed with use of P18 million he requested from former Environment Secretary Ramon Paje several years ago.
“There were a number of structures affected by the fencing project but we will still pursue the fencing to protect the Busol from further encroachment that will greatly affect the condition of the major source of water for our constituents. We cannot compromise the city’s major watershed because residents will surely suffer from insufficient water supply in their places in the future once the watershed will be devastated,” Domogan said.
He added the P10 million counterpart of the local government for the Busol fencing project will still be subjected to public bidding while the concerned government agencies will be working out the appropriate solutions to the boundary dispute between the St. Joseph church in Pacdal and the DENR over some portions of the watershed.
In his letter to Mayor Domogan, Bishop Victor Bendico of the Diocese of Baguio claimed that the fence of the church did not encroach over portions of the watershed based on the technical description enshrined in the title of the property.
However, the DENR insists that the fence of the church encroached over portions of the watershed which is reportedly impeding the implementation of the fencing of the contested portions of the watershed.
Domogan said the controversy could only be resolved through the conduct of a joint relocation survey, thus, the local government will be communicating to the Bishop and the DENR to work out the conduct of the said survey to put an end to the issue.
Busol watershed has a total land area of 336 hectares with 224 hectares located within the jurisdiction of the capital town of La Trinidad and the remaining 112 hectares is located in the city. Busol watershed is providing approximately 40 percent of the water requirements of the people in the different barangays.

Aside from the funds shelled out by the DENR and the local government for the realization of the fencing project, the Fil-Am Golf Foundation provided P5 million from the proceeds of the previous stagings of the Fil-Am invitational golf tournament to be used for the project considering that one of its major advocacies is environmental preservation and protection while the BRM also shared a portion of the required funds to complete the P34 million funding requirement to complete the fencing of the 8-kilometer stretch of the watershed within the jurisdiction of the city.


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