The Department of Environment and Natural Resources Region VI conducted the Provincial Launching of “Save our Watershed” (SOW), last August 10, 2021 following the national launching that was held in Manila on June 30, 2021. The department envisions to spread the word on how to preserve our natural ecosystems that sustains life for all.  The need to get our acts together to craft strategies to continue with our enterprise development while sustaining the efforts to maintain healthy watersheds.

“Water is important to life and survival. The physical appearance of a watershed dictates the ecosystem services it can provide to sustain socio-economic activities,” RED Duran said. He further added that the protection and conservation of watershed is not just the DENR's mandate and responsibility but also of all stakeholders. He then ends his message by emphasizing: “Sapagkat Ikaw, Ako, Tayo ang Kalikasan.”

In is believed that the watershed management and governing bodies in the covered areas will be more dynamic and will support a wider scale of public campaign. It will also help educate the public on the importance of watersheds and forestlands to promote a healthier biodiversity.

The campaign takes off from the JICA-assisted Forestland Management Project (FMP), a 10-year watershed rehabilitation project (2012-2022) covering Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), Cagayan Valley (Region 2), Central Luzon (Region 3), and Western Visayas (Region 6) particularly the Jalaur River Basin. The project aims to strengthen forestland management through collaborative, holistic, comprehensive, and sustainable forestland management strategies. FMP has benefitted around 22 people's organizations (POs) with over 2,000 members covering 13,027 hectares of the watershed in the upland areas of the municipalities of Janiuay, Lambunao, Calinog, all in the Province of Iloilo.

It was further mentioned to provide focus and attention to what matters, like the case of Jalaur River Basin, which supplies water, food and hydropower. The river is a source of irrigation, water supply for domestic use in Iloilo City and its adjacent Municipalities and also the generation of up to 6.6 megawatts electric power supply. A healthy watershed also minimizes health risks by providing clean water to drink, to grow our food and also to provide clean water for plants and wildlife. The more we protect and preserve the nature, the bigger the chance that we benefit from it.

DENR ASEC for Policy, Planning, and Foreign Assisted and Special Projects Marcial C. Amaro Jr., emphasized in his speech, “SOW is a pilot activity for a nationwide program to conserve the watersheds in our country.” He emphasized the importance of watersheds because it saves lives.

To further strengthen their participation and commitment, each have signed their names on the “Wall of Commitment” as a symbol that they are indeed sincere enough to sustain their efforts toward a healthier watersheds.

Saving our watershed is one of the 10 priority projects of DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu.