Monkayo, Davao de Oro – In a bid to rehabilitate the degraded Saug Watershed and its riverbanks, the Ecosystem-Based Adaptation in 2 River Basins (E2RB) Project and the local government of Monkayo mobilized more than 1,000 local households including members of the indigenous communities to plant 6,300 native tropical trees consisting of Malibago (Hibiscus tiliaceus), Pangi (Pangium edule), Nato (Palaquium luzineense), and the like along the communal riverbanks and in a 4.5-hectare lot of adjacent farms to create a natural protective barrier against climate change hazards.
The Saug watershed is one of the three watersheds in the Tagum-Libuganon River Basin (TLRB), a priority river basin of the E2RB Project, which is being implemented by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) together with the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ). The watershed is expected to provide multiple ecosystem services, such as reducing vulnerability to natural disasters and bolstering food and medicinal resources.
Earlier, the local government of Monkayo and the E2RB Project entered into a local cooperation agreement to implement Ecosystem-based Adaptation (EbA) measures to mitigate the risks and hazards of flooding, erosion, and landslides in the barangays of Casoon, Banlag, and San Isidro. The said three barangays issued separate resolutions designating portions of their respective areas as Community Watershed and Riverbank Protected Areas. The move aligns with the existing Environment Code of Monkayo (Municipal Ordinance No. 2015-04) that empowers the barangays to identify and declare the protection of watersheds.
The cooperation agreement is being hailed for putting the rehabilitation of Saug Watershed front and center in its agenda to protect the environment and to promote the well-being of the local community, thus setting a prototype of sustainable development and improved resilience going hand in hand in the region. (PENRO Davao de Oro/ Lanilo B. Pantallon)