The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has named Panlibutahan River in Valencia, Bukidnon as the top winner in the 2021 R.I.V.E.Rs or Recognizing Institutions/Individuals Towards Vibrant and Enhanced Rivers for Life Awards.
The 2nd and 3rd place winners were the Apayao-Abulug River in the Cordillera Administrative Region and the Taguibo River in Butuan City, respectively.
DENR Acting Secretary Jim Sampulna said the continuous recognition of the most improved rivers is a “testament that the DENR’s men and women are consistent with achieving the agency’s vision and mission”.
“The R.I.V.E.Rs for Life Awards aims to bring out the best in the DENR’s roster of executives in the field.”
“Since its launch in 2018, the R.I.V.E.Rs for Life Awards aims to bring out the best in the DENR’s roster of executives in the field. This inspires us to continue this endeavor in the years to come,” Sampulna added.
The award was established through DENR Special Order No. 2019-314.
Rivers that are potential entries to the award are those which were previously classified as Class C and became much cleaner through the constant efforts of DENR field offices.
Class C pertains to fishery water intended for the propagation and growth of fish and other aquatic resources.
DENR Undersecretary for Field Operations for Luzon and Visayas and Environment Juan Miguel Cuna handed over the awards during the DENR’s 35th founding anniversary as part of the recognition of individuals and institutions for their effective implementation of environmental laws and initiatives toward water quality management and conservation.
DENR-Region 10 (Northern Mindanao) has also given Panlibatuhan River recognition in 2020 for its successful rehabilitation led by the Bukidnon provincial government.
Through partnerships, regular community clean-ups, and proper solid waste management, the city government of Valencia in Bukidnon province was able to clean and improve the water quality of the Panlibatuhan River.
“We are passionate about the life-changing work we do for the R.I.V.E.Rs for Life project with the goal of finding sustainable and environmentally relevant solutions including revitalizing the biological heart of the river and improving water quality to support new life,” Cuna said.
“The success of the R.I.V.E.Rs for Life project will affect many lives positively and will bring enduring benefits to Philippine communities.”
“The success of the R.I.V.E.Rs for Life project will affect many lives positively and will bring enduring benefits to Philippine communities,” he pointed out.
Rivers are vulnerable to pollution from agricultural farms, households, untreated water from sewage, and industries jeopardizing their condition and capability to provide food and other purposes.
In the Philippines, there are 18 major river basins and 421 principal and small rivers, of which 379 are classified under Class C.
The R.I.V.E.Rs for Life Awards was launched to recognize the efforts of supervising and implementing Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officers (PENROs) and Community Environment and Natural Resources Officers (CENROs) to achieve the cleanest state of the rivers in their respective areas of jurisdiction.
It also aims to raise awareness of the need to protect and conserve the country’s rivers as the lifeblood of the earth and the human civilization; to tap concerted actions to protect the country’s universal degradation and pollution; and to assure their sustainability, suitability and their further improvement for their designated use for classification.
The winners were judged based on river water quality improvement interventions, solid waste management, partnership and community mobilization, and other activities, including information and education initiatives for environmental protection and conservation.