Representatives from local government units (LGUs), National Government Agencies (NGAs), and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), together with other community members, gathered for the Public Hearing of the Proposed Lower Amburayan River System Water Quality Management Area held last June 17, 2016 at Estrella Del Mar, Brgy. Vical, Sta. Lucia, Ilocos Sur.
The Public Hearing served as a venue for community members to present their objections, questions and suggestions. One particular concern was the quantity and diversity of fish present in the river. Hon. Daniel Laño, Vice Mayor of Sugpon, La Union, recommended the annual dispersal of fingerlings in the Amburayan River. This was supported by Mr. Godofredo Luoang, the Federated Chieftain of the Alilem Tribal Council who proposed that fishing should also be prohibited during the first few days of fish spawning to ensure the subsequent increase of fish population.
For. Nelson Abella of the Provincial Government of Ilocos Sur added that there are existing ordinances on fishing bans but concerned authorities must work together to ensure that the fishing ban should be implemented on the same time period for all municipalities along the Amburayan River. As a result, the participating body approved an interim resolution for the annual release of fingerlings and the synchronization of municipal fishing bans. The presence of Indigenous People representatives actively participating in the governance of the Amburayan River ensures that enacted policies and programs are responsive to the needs and concerns of communities.
The body also unanimously approved the proposal for the designation of Lower Amburayan River as a WQMA and endorsed this for approval by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) through the motion of Mr. Salcedo Baagen, the Indigenous Peoples Mandated Representative of Sudipen, La Union.
Protecting and Defending the Amburayan River Basin and Watershed through Good Governance and Active Peoples’ Participation is a project funded by the USAID through the Gerry Roxas Foundation (GRF) and is implemented by the Jaime V. Ongpin Foundation Inc. (JVOFI).// Flynn S. Ayugat