The National Irrigation Administration (NIA) and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) for the effective management and development of the 143 watersheds supporting the National Irrigation Systems (NISs) in the Philippines.

NIA administrator Ricardo Visaya and DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu inked the agreement.

NIA administrator Ricardo Visaya and DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu inked the agreement at the DENR Central Office in Diliman, Quezon City.

By virtue of the DENR Memorandum Circular (DMC) No. 2008-05, the guidelines in the preparation of Integrated Watershed Management Plans (IWMP) and programs of all watersheds in the country, regardless of their classification, size, use, and administrative jurisdiction, was issued.

In this regard, there is a need to establish and delineate the respective responsibilities of the DENR and NIA over watersheds and reservations, for purposes of effective management and development of programs and projects toward the sustainable existence of irrigation systems within the said areas. Similarly, the concept of Watershed Ecosystem Management (WEM) from ridge to reef approach, including vulnerability assessment, must be harmonized and adopted.

The MOA provides that in coordination with DENR and Forest Management Bureau (FMB), NIA shall identify and recommend priority watersheds and reservations supporting irrigation projects which require immediate rehabilitation and development.

In collaboration with the DENR and other concerned agencies and instrumentalities, NIA shall also secure appropriate environment clearances and permits from the DENR/field offices as necessary for the protection of watersheds and reservations.

Moreover, the agency shall recommend qualified NIA field personnel to be deputized by the DENR as Environment and Natural Resources Officers, in accordance with the existing forestry laws, rules, and regulations. In this regard, NIA shall assist the DENR in the preparation of IWMP and programs related to the management, protection, development, and rehabilitation of such watersheds and reservations.

The DENR and NIA shall have joint undertakings in enforcing forestry laws.

The MOA also provides that the DENR and NIA shall have joint undertakings in enforcing forestry laws, conducting census management, controlling watershed communities, and sharing available watershed information that would enhance watershed capabilities of all parties.

In coordination with other concerned agencies and institutions, the information, education, and communication (IEC) campaigns, studies, and Research and Development (R&D) on watershed technology generation and application must be conducted.

Correspondingly, the mechanism for sourcing of funds from international and local funding institutions for the development and rehabilitation, including maintenance of identified priority watersheds and reservations.

NIA, as the lead government agency primarily responsible for the development and management of irrigation throughout the country, remains committed in conserving the environment through efficient management of irrigation systems to where watersheds and reservations lie.


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