“…Floods …caused millions worth of damage to crops and infrastructure.” These are the words in Philippine news papers lately. Same lines were seen the past decades and same lines will be seen 10-20 years from now if we take no action.
According to the report of Vicente S. Paragas, former Director of DENR Region X, deforestation and improper land use of uplands has resulted to land degradation and severe soil erosion. He further stressed that “Improper management, insufficient technical know-how, among others, has resulted in the failed in implementation of already existing laws on watershed protection and preservation.”
What the government did?
In February 27, 2007, Pres. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo signed the Executive Order 606 Pursuing Sustainable Upland Development anchoring on food, wood, and non-wood security and economic productivity and providing the mechanisms for its implementation. The DENR is tasks to take lead for the implementation of the said order. It will be assisted by DA, DAR, DILG and LGUs. I hope by this time, it will not fail again.
Not long time ago Ms. Li-Ann de Leon, the Executive Director of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP), called to replicate the Sustainable Upland Development (SUD). She emphasized on the four models to be used by the Local Government Units (LGUs) namely: 1) Land-Used Based Barangay Development Planning (LUBBDP), 2) Upland Agricultural Extension Delivery for introducing Diversified Farming Systems or DFS with upland farmers (UAED-DFS), 3) Barangay Forest Protection and Management (BFPM) and 4) Labor-Based Routine Barangay Road Maintenance (LBRBRM). On the other hand, Mayor Ramon N. Guico Jr., emphasized that SUD is “…definitely doable” most especially that Executive Order No. 606 was already in place. He further stressed “The LMP in partnership with the Mayor’s Development Center , can now go full blast in its campaign to replicate SUD all over the country.” Kudos to you,
Soil erosion can’t be stopped at all but rather be controlled. In a study conducted in Mindanao Baptist Rural Life Center in 2004 revealed that using Sloping Agricultural Land Technology (SALT) and planting of vetiver grass in contour lines had effectively reduced the soil loss. On the other hand, technologies like terracing, natural vegetative barrier, and rock wall had higher soil loss as high as 32 tons per hectare per year. It is alarming to note that there will be higher rate of erosion when farmers do not have any conservation measures at all.
Many of our uplands today are cultivated for vegetables, corn, banana and even sugarcane. These farming systems were used without any soil erosion control. Uplands in provinces of Cotabato, Davao , and Bukidnon, are vastly converted to plantation crops (banana, pineapple and later to include jathropa) without any soil erosion measures but rather large canals for irrigation and drainage. As a result, more flash floods in lowlands and higher rate of soil erosion.Have we not learned from the tragedies of Ormoc to the recent damages in Cotabato? Do our politicians have the “WILL TO SERVE” or the agencies like DENR, DA and DAR to include DILG are doing its best to have executed E.O. 606? Or let’s just for more damages and calamities?
The LMP again will have another convention. Their actions along with the DENR, DA, and DAR per E.O. 606 remains to be seen. Is it doable? Prove it else we will see more headlines of calamity due failed implementation of existing laws tomorrow.