Press Release
May 7, 2015

To address widespread periodic droughts which threaten country's agricultural production and food suppy
Senator Ejercito files Watershed Protection Bill

SENATOR Joseph Victor G. Ejercito files yesterday Senate Bill No. 2748 or otherwise known as the Protection of Watershed Supporting the National Irrigation System (NIS) Act.

SB No. 2748 aims that the protection, conservation and rehabilitation of the "watersheds supporting the national irrigation system" in the country will be ensured in order to assure that these considered areas cannot be touched by man's insensitivity to nature and his environment.

The proposed bill covers all the 143 identified watersheds supporting the National Irrigation System, as identified in Section 6 of the proposed bill, and all watershed areas as may be proclaimed before and after the passage of the proposed measure.

Currently, the Philippines has 143 Watersheds supporting 165 National Irrigation Systems with a total area of 4,318,172 million hectares more or less, The water that comes from these watersheds areas and flows to the River Systems provides irrigation water to rice lands and other agricultural lands planted of different crops. There are only about 483,820 hectares, more or less, being serviced by the 143 River Watersheds, but based on the NIA data, 868,509 hectares of agricultural land are being irrigated and roughly 368,000 hectares of these have existing facilities but need restoration and rehabilitation.

"With the on-ongoing drought experienced by many provinces in our country which threaten our agricultural production and food supply, this proposed bill is very timely to promote and protect the various watersheds that provide the socio-economic base to a growing population through the utilization of watershed resources. I hope that the leadership of both Houses and the Executive Department will realize that this proposed bill caters to the basic human needs, like water and food, and a law like this should be passed not only for ourselves but for the other generations to come," Senator Ejercito said.

According to the bill, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) thru the Bureau of Forest Management in collaboration with the Department of Agriculture thru the National Irrigation Authority shall have exclusive and primary jurisdiction, control and management on all identified watersheds supporting the National Irrigation system.

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