Sec. Cimatu Visits Mt. Diwalwal, Meets With Local Officials Of ComVal and Monkayo

To discuss seccimatuabout the plans in addressing the problems in Mt. Diwalwal and the rehabilitation of Naboc River, Department of Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Roy A. hCimatu had a meeting with Compostela Valley Provincial Governor Jayvee Tyron Uy and the local officials of Monkayo headed by Mayor Ramil Gentugaya last August 8, 2017. The meeting was held at Monkayo Municipal Hall.
 
The Secretary emphasized during the meeting that President Rodrigo R. Duterte wants Naboc River to be cleaned from any chemical contamination. He said that it is imperative for DENR together with its line bureaus, the Mines and GeoSciences Bureau (MGB-XI) and the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB-XI) to come up with an Action Plan in order to resolve the problems in Diwalwal. This Action Plan will be coordinated with the concerned local government units of Comval.
 
Before the said meeting, Secretary Cimatu together with his officials from DENR Central and Region XI Offices were assisted by the Philippine Air Force during their quick visit and inspection of Mt. Diwalwal and the Naboc River.
“The worst thing that ever happened to Mt. Diwalwal was when the Naboc River was contaminated with poisonous deposits from mine tailings such as Mercury and Cyanide. That’s why I am asking for your help and your cooperation in terms of cleaning this river and preventing it from further contamination,” Cimatu said.
 
He also suggested that ball mills and processing plants should not be allowed to be operated near the Naboc River. Moreover, he suggested that communities situated near the river should also be cleared and transferred to other areas.
Naboc River catches the downstream waters coming from the mountains and slopes of Mt. Diwalwal which eventually flow down to Agusan River.
 
Cimatu stressed further that small scale mining are being allowed by the LGUs to operate in the area but it is the task of the DENR to ensure that mining regulations must be followed.
 
The highlight of the meeting was the presentation of the Action Plan to Secretary Cimatu by the Program Monitoring Coordination Center (PMCC) Regional Coordinator Atty. Felix S. Alicer. The said Action Plan which focuses on the livelihood interventions and relocation of settlers in Mabatas was formulated during the PMCC meeting last August 2, 2017 held at DENR-XI Regional Office. It is to answer President Duterte’s call in solving Mt. Diwalwal’s problems during his recent State of the Nation Address (SONA).
 
Included in the Action Plan is the preparation for the relocation site wherein Gov. Uy and Mayor Gentugaya pledged to provide heavy equipment to be used for the activity. 
 
Also included is the creation of a Monitoring Team which will be spearheaded by DENR, EMB and MGB of Region XI. A Special Order was issued by DENR-XI Regional Director Ruth M. Tawantawan creating the team.
 
“During PMCC’s August 2 meeting, the members, including Governor Uy and Mayor Gentugaya immediately gave their support to the President and to DENR. This time, there is already a political will not only in the cleaning up of Naboc River but also in addressing the issues of illegal logging in Compostela Valley,” Tawantawan said.
 
In his message, Mayor Genugaya assured the Secretary that whatever decisions the LGUs would come up with will not go against the decisions of the DENR and the President. “And these solutions we are coming up with will be a win-win solution. We are not telling the plant owners to stop their operations but rather, we are relocating them in an area that will not harm Naboc River and the communities as well,” he said.
 
On the other hand, Governor Uy thanked the Secretary for visiting Compostela Valley Province and for including Mt. Diwalwal as one of his priorities. “This will not only help us but this is also the direction that we want to take towards a better community and protecting the environment at the same time. We hope to come up with innovative solutions which will serve as our guidance in moving forward.”
 
Also present during the meeting are: Head Executive Assistant Gen. Mario F. Chan; Assistant Secretary Joselin Marcus Fragada; EMB Directors Jaqueline A. Caancan and Metudio Turbella; MGB Director Atty. Wilfredo G. Mocano; MGB Assistant Director Danilo U. Uykeing; Atty. Ramon Edison C. Batacan of the Natural Resources Development Corporation (NRDC); MGB-XI Regional Director Constancio Paye; Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer for Comval Province Chamberlain Babiera; Community Environment and Natural Resources Officer for Monkayo Alberto Bandiola; representative from mining cooperatives; elements of the 25th Infantry Batallion; 1001st Infantry PAG-ASA Brigade under the 10th Infantry AGILA Division; Philippine National Police; Philippine Air Force; and representatives from Provincial Governor’s Office of Comval, LGUs of Monkayo and National Offices.

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Department tawantawan is a presidential gawad ces awardee for 2016 webof Environment and Natural Resources Regional Director Ruth Manigos-Tawantawan is one the awardees for 2016 Presidential GAWAD Career Executive Service (CES) Award for her commendable performance, contribution and innovations in fulfilling the noble mission to mobilize the citizenry in protecting, conserving and managing the environment and natural resources.

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