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Group warns vs celebrating Holy Week at watersheds

ENVIRONMENTAL group Interfacing Development Interventions for Sustainability (IDIS) asked the public to avoid going to the Panigan-Tamugan watershed for the Holy Week.

IDIS executive director, Atty. Mark Peñalver, raised the concern for the approaching long weekend on March 28-31, where an influx of people flock to the rivers.

March 28-30, the last three days of the Holy Week were declared as holidays. Including Easter Sunday on March 31, this is the first long weekend of the year.

“As much as we want to celebrate our long weekend, we call the public to avoid going to the rivers, especially in the watershed as we don’t want the issue during the Christmas and New Year break to repeat,” Peñalver said during a sideline interview on the IDIS 25th year celebration, March 25.

To recall, residents flock and welcome the New Year on Jan. 1 in a river in Brgy. Carmen, a section of the Panigan-Tamugan watershed, improperly disposed of their garbage in the river.

The City Environment and Natural Resources Office reported about 2,000 tourists occupying the area. Makeshift cottages which have no business permits have also contributed to the influx.

The barangay council of Carmen already proposed to the city council to impose fees on visitors and swimmers in the protected river, however, the proposal is still pending at the the committee level.

Councilor Temujin Ocampo, the committee on environment chair, said while the fees are a backup fund for the barangay to maintain the rivers, cleanliness remains the people’s responsibility.

Peñalver said it has to be noted that while Holy Week is a time to commemorate the passion of Christ, “nature is a blessing” that should also be commemorated.

“As we celebrate the Holy Week, we should also be considerate to our nature and environment as well as properly manage our waste,” he added.

The Public Safety and Security Office has already issued a memorandum to the barangays to augment the Bantay Bukid, to strictly monitor the entry of people.

Bantay Bukid collected sacks of various wastes left in the river after the New Year celebration, including plastics, liquor bottles, cigarette butts, and food waste.

He also reminded the religious sector to encourage participants of the Stations of the Cross to bring refillable water tumblers and avoid using single-use plastics.



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