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MCWD chief urges Cotabateños to help save Dimapatoy watershed area

COTABATO CITY, Feb. 26 — The Metro Cotabato Water District (MCWD) here has urged Cotabateños to plant more trees to save the vanishing Dimapatoy watershed area, a 3,765-hectare water source situated in the boundary of Cotabato City and nearby Datu Odin Sinsuat town in Maguindanao.

Lawyer Delfin Hilario, MCWD chief, made such call during a tree planting activity launched Friday by the Junior Chamber International (JCI) at the watershed area together with members of the 300-strong 7th Marine Base Landing Team based in this city. <P>"The JCI initiative is just a small step for watershed area. What we need is a concerted effort by sectors to save our water resource,” Hilario said during a press conference that followed the activity.

The JCI is an international youth group aged 18 to 40 years old whose aim is to create positive changes globally through “collective action.”

To date, the JCI stands as the only non-political, non-sectarian youth service organization composed of 200,000 active members in 5,000 communities from over 100 countries worldwide.

In the Philippines, the JCI has 3,000 members from 170 chapters scattered in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.

Hilario noted that latest data they gathered indicated that the Dimapatoy watershed area only has a remaining 15 percent forest cover with most of its sections denuded by the wanton cutting of trees by illegal loggers and global warming condition.

“That is why we need 20,000 to 30,000 more trees for a 50 percent survival of the watershed,” he stressed.

The MCWD is serving 25,000 households in this city alone. Its service operations also include parts of Datu Odin Sinsuat and Sultan Kudarat towns in adjacent Maguindanao province.

Earlier, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources–Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (DENR-ARMM)has pledged to plant 80,000 trees in the watershed area within the next six months under a food-for-work scheme.

The program aims to entice Maguindanao villagers to plant trees in their respective communities in exchange for food.

Maguindanao is a province component of the ARMM, which also includes in its supervision Lanao del Sur in Central Mindanao and the island-provinces of Sulu, Tawi-tawi and Basilan situated in the Zamboanga peninsula in Western Mindanao. (PNA)

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