The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Bicol headed by OIC, Regional Executive Director (RED) Atty. Antonio A. Abawag, CESO IV has created its own Regional Team, which supports the recently signed Executive Order No. 120 creating the Build Back Better (BBB) Task Force (TF) to ensure post disaster rehabilitation and recovery efforts of typhoon-hit areas.

The DENR V Regional Team chaired by OIC, RED Abawag will lead on the Intensified Watershed Management (IWM), which is one (1) of the six (6) Key Result Areas (KRAs) or the short list of the over all goals of the BBB.  

Other KRAs under the BBB TF include: (1) Better and Resilient Infrastructure; (2) Stronger Shelter and Resilient Settlement; (3) Improved Systems and Essential Services; (4) Restored Sustainable Livelihood; and (5) Strengthened Governance through Broad-Based Citizen Input wherein DENR is a member agency.

The team will facilitate the assessment of the Bicol River Basin (BRB) and the province of Catanduanes, which were hard hit areas by the past typhoons. The team will also determine possible interventions that will address the issues brought by the calamities,” said OIC, RED Abawag.

Moreover, a Special Order was signed by RED Abawag, directing the Team to (1) formulate the implementation plan, budgetary requirements and funding proposals for IWM initiatives, to minimize siltation and mitigate flooding; (2) coordinate with other KRA member agencies in the conduct of identified activities; (3) monitor of activities and accomplishments, identification of concerns and required actions; and (4) submit reports.

For KRA on IWM, the DENR shall work together with its member agencies, which are the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), National Housing Authority (NHA), Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD), Land Registration Authority, National Irrigation Administration (NIA), Department of Science and Technology (DOST), Department of Budget and Management (DBM), Department of Energy and  Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

Over all, the agencies shall support the DENR in the riverbank stabilization, river bank easement recovery, reforestation and forest protection measures and enforcement of environmental laws.

The DENR V Regional Team has drafted their proposed action plans for BRB and Catanduanes for the years 2021 to 2025 and were presented in a virtual meeting with OIC, Assistant Secretary for Fields Operation for Luzon Gilbert C. Gonzales, CESO III held at the DENR V Hamada Hall, Rawis, Legazpi City on December 3, 2020. Likewise, these shall also be presented during the consultation meeting with the member agencies for finalization.

With the creation of the Team and the cooperation of all stakeholders, the DENR is hopeful that effects of future calamities will be mitigated, and recovery will be hastened.