Locals, government agencies, and non-government organizations grouped together to establish a council that aims to protect and preserve the Asik-Asik Falls in North Cotabato.
Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) Secretary Manny Piñol stated in a Manila Bulletin report that the Alamada Watershed Council will be comprised of representatives from the local government of Alamada, MinDA, Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB), Foundation of the Philippine Environment (FPE), Philippine National Police (PNP), Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), and the Mindanao River Basin (MRB) Council.
Piñol expressed in the report that the DENR will spearhead reforestation efforts in bereaved areas through its National Greening Program where cash crops will be prioritized to integrate livelihood opportunities.
The DAR will supervise issues on land tenure while the FPE and MinDA will provide technical assistance for social preparation activities as well as sourcing of funds and other assistance needed by the council.
Mayor Jesus Sacdalan said that an executive order (EO) from the local government of Alamada will be issued to formalize the establishment of the council.
Meanwhile, Piñol added that the council is planning to come up with interventions that will benefit the people.
“In every development done for the Asik-Asik Waterfalls, the communities around it should be involved in every step of the way,” Piñol was quoted as saying in the report.
One of the council’s initial plans of action includes an inventory and profiling of the actual occupants living in the vicinity of the falls.