BUTUAN CITY – A series of consultations will hear the proposal to declare a watershed in Surigao del Sur as a protected area under the Expanded National Integrated Protected Areas System Act of 2018 (E-NIPAS).

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources in the Caraga Region (DENR-13) underscored the importance of raising awareness among the residents of Carrascal, Madrid, and Cantilan towns on the result of the studies on the watershed in the area.

“Based on the Protected Area Suitability Assessment conducted, there is a need to declare the Carac-an Watershed Forest Reserves (CWFR) as a protected area under the category of Protected Landscape,” the DENR-13 said in a statement Tuesday.

The E-NIPAS under Republic Act 11038,  signed into law by former President Rodrigo Duterte in 2018, defines “protected landscapes and/or seascapes as areas of national significance.”

These areas are characterized by the “harmonious interaction of man and land and water while providing opportunities for public enjoyment through recreation, tourism, and other economic activities.”

According to DENR-13, the CWFR watershed covers a total land area of 43,601 hectares covering the portions of the towns of Carrascal, Madrid, and Cantilan.

The CWFR watershed is a primary water source for the three towns.

DENR-13 said the series of consultations will be led by the Community Environment and Natural Resources Office of Cantilan.

The consultations will be on August 17 in barangays Babuyan and Panikian in Carrascal and on August 18 in barangays Bayogo and Cabas-an in Cantilan. (PNA)