Statement from the College of Science
The recently formed Upper Marikina Watershed Coalition (UMWC) requests President Rodrigo Roa Duterte to leave a legacy by making the Upper Marikina River Basin Protected Landscape (UMRBPL) and adjacent protected areas free from any form of Mineral Production Sharing Agreements (MPSAs) and their consequent quarrying activities.
Together with more than 80 groups and institutions, the UST College of Science urgently calls on the government to rescind all existing and overlapping MPSAs inside the 26,126-hectare UMRBPL. There are at least six MPSAs that is estimated to cover 2,158 ha of the protected area . This is cognizant of the identified current condition of the UMRBPL that is still marred by issues and problems of illegal land titling, forest degradation (i.e. logging and slash-and-burn), charcoal making, and quarrying [2,3]. The terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems inside the UMRBPL continue to be under the present and future threats of environmental degradation and biodiversity loss. Consequently, the local communities are not spared from problems of flooding, erosion, and siltation.
The student and faculty researchers of the UST College of Science have been studying stream environment and biodiversity and recommending further management strategies in UMRBPL. The initiative from the UMWC and support from major stakeholders are crucial steps to secure that the identified conservation plans and mitigation measures will materialize.
1Department of Environment and Natural Resources [DENR] EnvironMentor Mapping App.
2Peralta, EM, Belen, AE, Tan, AKV, Perez, C, Buenaventura, GR, Espiritu, KGR, De Vera, JNA, Cantre, FGG, De Jesus, IB., Palomares, P, Briones, JCA., Ikeya, T, Magbanua, FS, Papa, RDS, Okuda, N. 2019. Stream benthic macroinvertebrate assemblages reveal the importance of a recently established freshwater protected area in a tropical watershed. Pacific Science, 73(3) 1-16. https://doi.org/10.2984/73.3.1
3Department of Environment and Natural Resources [DENR]. 2015. Formulation of an Integrated River Basin Management and Development Master Plan for Marikina River Basin. 1–7. Accessed 23 April 2021. http://faspselib.denr.gov.ph/node/248