The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Region VI and the Province of Aklan and Antique together with the Peoples Organizations (POs), Indigenous Peoples Organizations (IPOs), and concerned Government Agencies signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) for the creation of the Ibajay-Panayakan River Integrated Watershed Management Council (IWMC) at the DENR Region VI Activity Center, Iloilo City, just recently.

Regional Executive Director Livino B. Duran of DENR Region 6 signed the MOA with the Provincial Government of Aklan who was represented by Provincial Administrator Atty. Selwyn C. Ibarreta for Governor Florencio T. Miraflores at the DENR Region Office where the good governor attended via zoom.  Meanwhile, the Provincial Government of Antique represented by Hon. Rhodora J. Cadiao witnessed the signing of the MOA, virtually.

The Municipality of Malinao, Aklan represented by its Municipal Mayor Josephine I. Iquiña and the Municipality of Pandan, Antique by Municipal Mayor Plaridel E. Sanchez, various POs and IPOs in Aklan and Antique and other concerned Government Agencies in the region were all present during the MOA signing activity.

During his message, RED Livino B. Duran emphasized to the members of the Ibajay-Panakuyan River IWMC their role as members of the Ibajay-Panayakan IWMC where he stressed that “after the signing of the MOA, we will all work together- to be consulted, to participate, to discuss, and to decide matters pertaining to use of the resources in the Ibajay-Panakuyan Watershed. Your signature in this MOA signing signifies your commitment to help protect our natural resources”, said RED Duran.

"This is a very timely mission as we are all aware how critical our watersheds are now, especially during these trying times where we crucially need an increased resilience in the face of climate change threats,” said Aklan Provincial Administrator Atty. Selwyn Ibarreta during his response.

“We need to educate the people of the importance of watersheds. A healthy watershed means a good quality of life for our People”, he added.

Under the MOA, the management of the watersheds should achieve the following goals: (1) sustainable multiple use of natural resources within the watersheds in a manner that is environmentally sound, economically viable and socially acceptable; (2) the prevention of further watershed degradation and the restoration of the productive and protective function of currently degraded watersheds.

The MOA mandates the effective and purposive collaboration and coordination of the DENR, the LGUs, National Government Agencies, Non-Government Organizations, People's Organization, Indigenous People's Organization, and the Private Sector to hasten and facilitate the achievement of these goals.

The DENR is the lead government agency tasked to conserve, develop, protect and regulate the utilization of the natural resources as among the 10 priority programs of the department geared towards the benefit of the present generation and the generations  to come.