IN ITS continuing goal to solidify its holistic approach for the conservation and protection of the Mt. Isarog Natural Park (MINP) by forging partnerships with certain agencies and stakeholders, the latest partnership of the Metropolitan Naga Water District (MNWD) with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) goes beyond the basics of conserving and protecting the MINP.
On September 26, 2017, the MNWD and the DSWD, with their respective representatives Acting General Manager Virginia I. Nero and Region V Director Arnel B. Garcia, signed a Memorandum of Agreement that is both pioneering and one of a kind. The witnesses who signed the MOA were MNWD Board Chairman Jorge T. Palma, Florencio Tam Mongoso, Jr. representing Naga City Mayor John G. Bongat, and Councilor Ronald P. Boclot representing Mayor Tomas P. Bongalonta of Pili, Camarines Sur.
The MOA’s essential components are, first, for the MNWD and the DSWD to address the socio-economic concerns of the Conservation Farming Communities (CFCs), who have long been under the stewardship of the water district and partners, along the buffer zone of the MINP thru livelihood programs that can sustain the basic needs of families in the community to lessen if not eliminate the threat and their dependence on the natural resources of the protected area that is the MINP, and second, for both parties to jointly implement disaster preparedness, response, and recovery activities within the water district’s areas of service.
In his message, RD Garcia praised the out-of-the-box and one-of-a-kind partnership between his agency and the MNWD. “For the very first time and only in Bicol, this pioneering partnership is seen and I hope this will start a trend that the other regions and water districts will emulate,” he said.
He hopes this will open the eyes of the other water districts to look at social responsibility in addressing the needs of their constituents especially in times of disaster and, thus, the agreement for MNWD to provide free potable water to disaster stricken communities. “We can extend the funds to more people because we will not buy water anymore,” RD Garcia said.
On the CFCs outside the perimeter of Mt. Isarog, the DSWD regional chief pledged an initial grant of P 1.5M and more grants to follow, “We want to build the capacity of people to transform themselves into self-managed communities who care about the environment.”
Chairman Palma meanwhile in his message said, “We are here with one objective, we are here for the conservation and protection of the MINP. But this partnership makes a big difference because it is out of the box.” The chairman related how there were only four stakeholders when he joined the MNWD Board as a Director, the MNWD, the City of Naga, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Rotary Club of Naga, now there are almost 40 partners in the conservation and protection of the MINP.
AGM Nero welcomed those present while Chairman Palma shared the MNWD watershed experience. DSWD Camarines Sur field personnel Katrina G. Manaya, Provincial Coordinator Cluster I and Janeth A. Miranda, Provincial Coordinator Cluster II presented their project brief for the CFCs. Messages of collaboration, because the watersheds being managed by the MNWD are within Naga City and capital town of Pili, were delivered by Naga City Administrator Florencio “Jun” Tam Mongoso, Jr and Councilor Ronald P. Boclot of Pili, Camarines Sur.
Also present to witness the event were friends from the media, personnel of the DSWD Camarines Sur field office, representatives from other water districts, LGU Naga personnel, and MNWD personnel.