The Amburayan starts small from the mountains of Benguet, from the droplets of rain that seeps into trees, then watersheds, streams, falls and eventually become great rivers in La Union and Ilocos Region until it reaches its destination – the vast ocean. It does not stop flowing. It goes through its course, and its goal to reach the sea. The river plays its purpose to just flow through the communities it serves: water for every household, catch for fishermen, irrigation to the fields, giving, nourishing and sustaining lives.
Hence, the communities that live along the river know the weight of issues that confront the Amburayan River. River degradation takes its toll and has affected them. While this degradation is mostly man-made it’s useless pointing a finger at anyone now. As this was caused by man, it is also their duty to rectify old ways that brought the river into its present state.
Although USAID and JVOFI launched the Amburayan project most of the work actually falls on the active participation of the people surrounding the Amburayan River. And long after the project ends, they will be the ones who will continue the efforts started and will reap the benefits of this program.
This initiative has started with a spark of volunteerism, as 78 community members volunteered to be deputized as Forest and River Rangers. They were trained and oriented as Deputy Environment and Natural Resources Officers (DENRO). We aspire that through their act of volunteerism other people will also follow suit and spread vigilance in protecting the Amburayan River.
Compared to the number of all the people whose lives are tied to the river, 78 volunteers perhaps is a small number– for now. But just like the river that started small, then flows into the vast ocean and plays its purpose to the surrounding people; giving, nourishing and sustaining lives; soon enough, we hope that everyone else finds their purpose in giving back, nurturing and sustaining the river. //devcomm