JALAUR RIVER MULTI-PURPOSE PROJECT STAGE II –
WATERSHED MANAGEMENT PLAN (JRMP II-WMP)
The Jalaur River Multipurpose Project Stage II (JRMPII) is the first large-scale dam outside Luzon once completed. It will benefit twenty-three (23) Municipalities and two (2) cities once the full potential of Jalaur River is harness for irrigation purposes, water supply for domestic use in Iloilo City and its adjacent Municipalities and the generation of 6.6 megawatts electric power supply.
Watersheds play an important role to most dam projects nationwide. Hence, watershed management is one of the vital soft components of JRMP II. The project’s water quality, quantity and sustainability for irrigation, potable water supply and hydroelectric power generation rely on the health of its watershed. JRMP II’s proposed 3 major dams are to be located within the Jalaur Watershed, including the Alibunan sub watershed, in the Municipality of Calinog, known to be the home of Panay Bukidnon-Halawodnon IP Community. Its area of 16,780 hectares is considered the largest watershed in the entire Province of Iloilo. Of the total watershed area, 9,227.60 hectares is proclaimed as Forest Reserve through Presidential Proclamation No. 601, s. 1990 “Establishing the Jalaur River Watershed Forest Reserve for purposes of protecting, maintaining, or improving the water yield and providing restraining mechanism for inappropriate forest exploitation and disruptive land-use, a certain parcel of land of the public domain located in the Municipality of Calinog, Province of Iloilo, Island of Panay, Philippines”. The Jalaur watershed drains to the Jalaur River system, considered as the second largest river system in the island of Panay and the 17th largest river system in the Philippines in terms of the drainage basin size. Its drainage area is estimated at 1,503 square kilometers and travels 123 kilometers from its source to its mouth in the Guimaras Strait. The Jalaur watershed in Calinog is part of the Central Panay mountain ranges is one of the Important Bird Area (IBA) in the country and also known to harbor the Big 5 endangered species like: Walden’s Hornbill or (Rhabdotorrhinus waldeni), Visayan Spotted Deer or Usa (Rusa alfredi), Visayan Warty Pig or Baboy Talunon (Sus cebifrons) and Panay Monitor Lizar or Mabitang (Varanus mabitang) Cloud Rat. The area is also home to the Leopard Cat or (Prionailurus bengalensis rabori) which is listed as vulnerable.
There are sixteen (16) IP barangays that covers the watershed area of JRMP II and are divided into two (2) categories; the directly affected barangays (8 barangays) and the indirectly affected barangays (8 barangays). The directly affected barangays are those that will have a portion of its land area submerge during the impounding of the water in the dam. These are: Brgys. Garangan, Masaroy, Agcalaga, Cahigon, Binulosan Pequeno, Tuyongan, Guinbunyogan and Alibunan. Barangays Aglonok, Hilwan, Caratagan, Marandig, Supanga, Manaripay, Tigbayog and Binulosan Grande are the eight (8) IP barangays considered as indirectly affected areas of the project covering the watershed areas.
The JRMP II Watershed Management Plan (WMP) aims to ensure that the Jalaur watershed sustains the required quantity and quality of water in the JRMPII reservoir and at the same time transforming the upland residents, mostly composed of Indigenous Peoples- the Panay Bukidnon-Halawodnon as stewards of the watershed at the same time preserving their indigenous ways and cultural heritage. Results of various programs and projects implemented and currently being implemented were considered in drafting the WMP. Such include the result of the feasibility study for JRMP II construction, approved Detailed Engineering and Design (DED), Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), Project Affected Families (PAFs) baseline survey, and the Socio Economic Cultural Impact Assessment (SECIA). Considered too are the NIA-JRMP II Land Acquisition and Resettlement Action Plan for Upland (LARAP Upland), Forest Land Use Plan (FLUP), and State of the Watershed Report (SoWR) of the Municipality of Calinog, DENR-Forest and Climate Protection Project in Panay Island (FORCLIM), DENR-Biodiversity Partnership Program, and DENR-Jalaur River Basin Watershed Master Plan. The DENR Forest Management Project (FMP), USAID Iloilo Be Secure Project: Water Security for Resilient Economic Growth and Stability, Garangan, Masaroy and Agcalaga (GMA) CADT Ancestral Domain Sustainable Development and Protection Plan (ADSDPP) also served as basis to this plan.
The Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) identified several environmental and social impacts during the construction phase, which involves but not limited to the impact on the flora and fauna (Biology) of the area. The environmental impacts are as follows: 1). Threat to the endemic and vulnerable and important wildlife species due to loss of habitat through the removal of vegetation; 2). Change of land use; 2). Change in the aesthetic character of the area or impacts on Geology/ Geomorphology that are anticipated to make significant change in surface land forms (substantial modification of existing terrain); 4). Change in sub-surface pedology due to Soil erosion / Sedimentation, Hydrologic change in drainage morphology; 5). Change in stream water depth, stream volumetric flow and hydrologic pattern, 6). Disturbance of normal water flow due to coffer damming, dewatering/masonry works and water resource competition; 7). Change in quality among surface and ground waters due to disturbance of top soil and sedimentation that could change water quality; 8). Stream water pollution that lead to threats to the abundance, frequency and distribution of Freshwater aquatic species; and 10). Temporary change in the micro-climate of the area where the three dams are located because of air pollution brought by dust generation / increase of suspended particles and increased concentration of gas pollutants (gaseous emissions from vehicles) during construction and, increase of noise levels due to vehicles and to noise/vibration producing vehicles.
The social impact of the project are:1). Loss of properties (land and residential structures and improvements) particularly in the 8 directly affected barangays where reservoir and buffer area would be located; 2). Loss of livelihood/farming activities in the reservoir and buffer zone areas; 3). Restriction in the farming activities in the indirectly affected areas, e.g. slash and burn agriculture, inorganic use of chemicals, range culture of hogs, among others, as these will have to be phased out and replaced with watershed friendly farming practices.
To mitigate the projected impacts, various strategies were formulated and its implementation will be divided into-three (3) phases. This is primarily because the DENR is implementing its JICA funded Forestland Management Project (FMP) in the watershed areas of Calinog, Lambunao and Janiuay until 2022. DENR and NIA signed a MOA in January 2014 delineating the areas of coverage of both institutions. Based on the MOA, JRMP II Watershed Management Plan will initially focus on the Titled Ancestral Domain area and along the established buffer zones of the project. Thus, Phase 1 of the JRMP II WMP will be implemented in barangays of Garangan, Masaroy and Agcalaga (CADT Area) and along the buffer zones of the project in barangays Toyungan, Alibunan, Cahigon, Binolusan Pequeno and Guinbonyugan. Phase 2 of the JRMP II WMP will see its implementation expanded to the upper portion of the directly affected barangays (outside of the buffer zone) and in the augmenting DENR FMP Project through the proposed JRMP II stream/river bank protection and rehabilitation of all streams and tributaries of the Jalaur and Alibunan rivers and in the implementation of the JRMP II Pesticides Management Plan. Phase 3 of the JRMP II will be implemented in the 16 barangays as DENR FMP is winding down on 2022. JRMP II will take over the projects sites of DENR FMP only in Calinog watersheds.
Phase 1 (2015-2018) project implementation phase- Sampling points will be established to monitor the environmental condition and its quality during the project construction (air quality, noise, water and monitoring of sediment transport and fish species in Jalaur River). Wild life species encountered during project construction activities will be captured and turnover to the Mariit Eco-park of the West Visayas State University. Proper waste management will be strictly imposed to the project contractors and its sub-contractors. During the project implementation the main activities of the Watershed and Environmental Unit for this phase is the establishment of nurseries for the proposed tree planting for the replacement of trees that will be submerged within the reservoir. Eco-friendly farming practices will be introduced to the upland dwellers such as contour farming, and agroforestry. Considering the parameters of watershed areas for the project which specifies areas of CADT and Buffer-zone, most of the activities also involve participatory planning particularly in the review and adaption of the Ancestral Domain Sustainable Development and Protection Plan (ADSDPP) of barangays Garangan, Masaroy and Agcalaga as well as policymaking for Buffer Zone Management. The Buffer Zone Area in the Jalaur High Dam is from 189 to 200 masl while that of Alibunan Catch Dam is from 98 to 108 masl. Buffer zone management is one of the main strategies in keeping the water in the reservoir clean, cool, clear and teeming with aquatic life. The other is the land cover conversion of the entire watershed into closed forest except for the stabilized food production areas. Another is the soil and water conservation program that will contain soil erosion in farmed areas and keep stream flow regulated and filtered. The buffer zone shall be transformed into a high density and multi-storey forest. The buffer zone forest is similar to land cover conversion in other parts of the watershed except that there will be zero cutting of non-coppicing trees. However, fruit picking and pruning shall be allowed. The buffer zone forest is also a multi-functional forest. It is therefore expected to: a) restrict the entry of people into the reservoir, b) check surface runoff and increase the water holding capacity of the area, c) help regulate water temperature in the reservoir, d) stabilize the reservoir embankments, e) serve as biodiversity corridor, f) yield favorable microclimate and, g) offer livelihood & ecotourism opportunities. Buffer Zone Forest Management Plan (BZFM): JRMP II, in collaboration with DENR and NCIP, shall prepare a buffer zone forest management plan with the following components: a) forest plantation establishment, maintenance and protection, b) agroforestry nursery, c) filtration of streams and gullies, d) biodiversity conservation, e) ecotourism and, f) enterprise development. Establishment, Maintenance and Protection of the Buffer Zone Forest: Prior to the final ground survey of the buffer zone, it is assumed that the operable area is 250 hectares out of the 302 hectares buffer zone. The estimated 52 hectares non-operable areas are either existing closed forest or landslide areas. There are two (2) important preparatory works prior to the implementation of the BZFMP. One (1) is the plantation design and the other is the selection of tree species. The buffer zone forest shall be designed to approximate its anticipated functions and adapt to such physical features as elongated, sloping, fragmented and undulating. Continuous studies will be conducted to fill up data gaps and establish baseline study specifically on Biological Conditions of the watershed areas before and after the project proves very essential especially in efficient prediction of developmental impacts and interventions and to later measure the qualitative and quantitative impacts of the project before and after implementation. This phase also embodies the collaborative efforts of line agencies including non-government agencies in harmonizing of plans and programs for the sustainability of the Jalaur Watershed areas.
Phase 2 (2018-2022) Project Operation with ongoing-FMP. By this period, it is anticipated that JRMP II is already operational and that the Forest Management Program of DENR is on-going complementary to the project to ensure the preservation and protection of the headwaters of the Jalaur River as source of water for domestic and irrigation purposes. To ensure additional safeguard to the environment, a trust fund/guarantee fund is allocated from the project’s stream of revenue will be reserved for the environment protection and preservation. It is in this phase that the intervention in the secondary impact areas will intensify in terms of institutional building and advocacy campaign. It is also projected that in this phase, the proposed WMP of JRMPII will be finalized and will be put into manual taking into consideration of the CADT and Buffer Zone Experience. The same will be replicated or applied in the secondary impact areas.
Phase 3 (2022 onwards) Project Operation without FMP. The year 2022 marks the completion of the DENR FMP- a JICA assisted project, but prior to the decommissioning, JRMPII must be able to establish the co-management of watershed areas in the municipality of Calinog, which would include the proper delineation of areas reflected in hectares provided with allocation and specific programs for the watershed and the environment amongst probably with the DENR, PLGU, LGU, NGO and NIA in cooperation and coordination with the indigenous cultural community. Following the Magat Watershed Model wherein the watershed areas were successfully funded by the 4 provinces benefitting from the project, it is perceived to be possible that the 23 municipalities and 2 component cities covered by JRMP II will also contribute for the sustainability of the watershed areas as main source of water directed for domestic and agriculture use. The co-management will be properly planned and coordinated with DENR as a mandated agency for forest conservation and protection and likewise recognize the RA 8371, which is commonly known as the Indigenous People Rights Act.
Grievance Redress Mechanism (GRM) will be installed to accommodate complaints and suggestions raised by any individual person or group of persons related to the Watershed Management activities of the proponent. A Technical Working Group (TWG) selected from the existing members of the Jalaur Watershed Management Council will be created specifically for the JRMP II watershed to monitor and oversee the activities of the proponent. Continuous research and development will be conducted to monitor the performance of the watershed and to assess species of flora and fauna strive and survive after the significant rise of water level. Continuous Information Education and Communication (IEC) campaign will be conducted to educate more the upland dwellers on the proper management of the watershed.
Several Institutional arrangements were also instigated through the initiative of the Provincial Government of Iloilo and Local Governments covered by the Jalaur Watershed. The preparation of this plan was also in coordination with the existing Iloilo Watershed Management Council (IWMC), Jalaur River Basin Watershed Management Council (JRWMC), and DENR-EMB Jalaur River Water Quality Management Areas (WQMA).
The WMP was formulated in adherence to the various Philippine environmental laws, rules and regulations. Legal bases for the WMP include Article 2 of Section 16 of1987 Philippine Constitution which promotes the protection and advancement of the right of the Filipino people to a healthy and balanced ecology in accord to the rhythm and harmony of nature; the Local Government Code (RA 7160) that directs and authorizes local governments to establish, maintain, preserve, protect and conserve communal forest and watersheds; E.O. 192 giving DENR mandate to be the primary government agency responsible for the conservation, management, development and proper use of the country's environment and natural resources, including those in reservations, watershed areas and lands of the public domain, as well as the licensing and regulation of all natural resources utilization as may be provided by law in order to ensure equitable sharing of the benefits derived there from for the welfare of the present and future generations of Filipinos. Also considered is the RA 8371 (IPRA of 1997) that give rights to the Indigenous Peoples to develop, control and use lands and territories traditionally occupied, owned, or used; to manage and conserve natural resources within the territories and uphold the responsibilities for future generations.
The WMP plan is also in accord with the Economic Development Cooperation Fund’s (EDCF) Environmental and Social Safeguard Policy, the general condition stipulated in the project’s Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC), and to the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between NIA, NCIP, and the IPs, one of the conditions stipulated in the NCIP Certification Precondition (CP) for JRMP II construction.