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Council approves Bantay Bukid deal

The City council yesterday approved on final reading an ordinance allowing Mayor Sara Duterte to enter into an agreement with an environmental group for the implementation of its Bantay Bukid program.

The council has allowed Mayor Duterte to sign the memorandum of understanding with the Interface Development Interventions (IDIS), represented by its Executive Director Chinkie Golle.

As stated in the MOU, the city government will provide financial support to the implementation of the Bantay Bukid program, deputize additional volunteers, ensure the conduct of the annual general assembly of the volunteers and ensure sustainable financial support to the volunteers.

The IDIS, on the other hand, is tasked to hire a person to ensure the implementation of the program and coordinate and support the volunteers to ensure regular conduct of watershed, rivers, biodiversity, and hazard prone areas monitoring.

The group will also facilitate the conduct of quarterly capacity building sessions and learning visits and assist in trainings and deputizing additional volunteers.

The IDIS will also coordinate with the Watershed Management Council (WMC), Public Safety and Security Command Center (PSSCC), Philippine Eagle Foundation and the City Mayor’s Office on matters aligned with the program.

The city initiated the Bantay Bukid program in 2017, providing support to the deputized Bantay Bukid volunteers to fully implement the Watershed Protection Conservation and Management Ordinance of 2007, the city’s watershed code.

The city government allocated P300,000 for the implementation of the program.

Currently the city provides a P2,000 monthly compensation to each of the 250 volunteers.

“These volunteers are the main protectors of the watershed in the city,” IDIS community organizer Rey Anthony Sapid told TIMES.

Under the program, the Panigan-Tamugan and the Talomo-Lipadas watersheds are guarded.

The volunteers are from the barangays of Carmen, Gumalang, Tambubong, Tawan-tawan and Wines in Baguio District and Tamugan in Marilog District.

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