Lack of coordination hampers gov’t projects

THE LACK of coordination among government agencies in the previous administration has resulted to the unsuccessful implementation of environmental programs, the Watershed Management Council revealed.

In a summary of issues and recommendations provided by Interface Development Interventions (IDIS) during the recent annual watershed summit, stakeholders agreed that environment programs such as the National Greening Program during the time of Pres. Benigno Aquino III were unsuccessful due to “lack of coordination” among the different government agencies such as the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the Department of Public Works in Highway.

In Davao City, these were seen in greening initiatives that were then uprooted in road widening projects, like those along Diversion road in Ma-a and in Shrine Hills, said

Mary Anne Fuertes, IDIS executive director.

“The local government offices cannot intervene also because these projects are under the jurisdiction of the national office,” Fuertes told TIMES.

The stakeholders recommended that the DENR first make their coordination with the City Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) before implementation, to better map out the areas that need the reforestation the most.

According to the DENR website, the nationwide reforestation program that ran from 2011 to the middle of 2016 was able to plant 1.5 billion trees across 1.5 million hectares.

But IDIS had said that some trees planted are not indigenous to an area, and can result in a negative impact, as other tree species not native to an area can become invasive and take over the nutrient sources of indigenous growing trees.

Other issues highlighted in the summit included the continuing presence of coliform due to human waste upstream and downstream of the watershed basin, a lack of water treatment facilities, and more support for livelihood of the communities living near the watershed areas.

The stakeholders also pushed for more government-civil society consultations in discussions of environmental policy.

The issues and recommendations will be used in drafting the 2017-2019 priority programs of the WMC for presentation and funding by the local government.

The annual watershed summit held last Aug. 24-25.

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