Naga City, Philippines (July 11, 2010) The Bicol River Basin Watershed and Managment Project has yet to wait for the replacement of its new Program Director following the relinquishment of office by Asec. Tomasito B. Monzon in compliance with Malacanang Memorandum Circular No. 1 issued by Executive Secretary Paquito "Jojo" Ochoa Jr "declaring vacant the position of all non-career officers in government."
Lawyer Ricky Tomotorgo, caretaker of the BRB-Program Management Office, stated that the remaining staff and employees of the project are now waiting for further instructions from Malacañan what to do next.
Tomotorgo are hopefull that the Aquino administration will extend the existence of the project and continue to provide funding for the continuity of the BRBWMP to sustain the development started under the project.
BRBWMP is a six-year development initiative started in 2004 under Executive Order 359, the BRBWMP is a comprehensive program on natural resources management within the context of a river basin.
The strategy of an integrated river basin and watershed approach is institutionalized in order to address the fundamental links between rural poverty and natural resource management.
The BRBWMP has four major components: 1) Institutional Development (ID); 2) Watershed Management and Development (WMD); 3) Flood and Hazard Mitigation (FHM); and Irrigation Modernization (IM).
The BRBWMP has a total project cost of P3.736 billion of which 35 percent will be sourced from foreign assistance while the remaining 65 percent will be generated through local sources.
The Bicol River Basin, which has a drainage area of 3,770 square kilometers, is the eighth largest among the larger river basins in the country.
It traverses about 90 percent of the provinces of Camarines Sur and Albay, and 10 percent of Camarines Norte.
The river supports some 1.3 million people who live along its banks and who are mainly dependent on agriculture and fishing.
The BRB occupies 312,000 hectares of the southern tip of Luzon Island, particularly in the provinces of Camarines Sur and Albay.
The basin is about 130 km long and 25 km wide and is bounded along its length by the Ragay Hills to the southwest and a series of volcanoes to the northeast. Mayon Volcano is situated at the southern end of the basin.
The southern part of the basin is drained by the Bicol River which flows northwesterly from Lake Bato, through a wide, flat floodplain subject to frequent inundation, to its mouth at San Miguel Bay.
The northern part is drained by the Libmanan-Sipocot River which flows southeasterly through hilly terrain to join with the Bicol River near its mouth.
Naga City, along with a number of small towns, are located in the floodplain. These population centers are located on the banks of the Bicol River approximately 15 km from the mouth of the waterway but well within the reach of the tides. Storm surges caused by typhoons increase the flooding problem in Naga City and the surrounding farmlands.