Undoubtedly, the Carood Watershed Convergence in Central Visayas is one of the most dynamic convergence projects in the country. It has been operating to diminish the seven municipalities’ recurrent concerns that hound the watershed for decades.

Back in 2003, the common problem of seasonal flooding and the recurring issues of forest plantation fires, unsustainable farming practices, improper waste disposal, unsustainable farming practices, contamination of water sources, erosion, siltation, over-extraction of sand and gravel, among other concerns, encouraged the local chief executives (LCEs) to unite and find solutions to their dilemma.

The Carood Watershed Model Forest Management Council (CWFMC) was born in 2003, which was strengthened through Executive Order No. 30, institutionalizing the Council. The original members of the CWFMC were the local chief executives of the original cluster of six municipalities, six chairs of Sangguniang Barangay committees on environment and agriculture, six municipal agricultural officers, a representative from the DENR and Bohol Environment Management Office (BEMO), presidents of non-government organizations (NGOs), and people’ organizations (POs) who convened to synergize climate-related efforts and bridge agro-economic policies.

As climate change issues take center stage in the government’s sustainability program, it becomes relevant and timely for the Regional Convergence Initiative for Sustainable Rural Development (RCI-SRD7) to collaborate with CWFMC in adopting programs that would address the accelerating negative effect of climate change in the Carood watershed areas. 

DENR’s Contribution: Fire Away

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO UN) observed a continuous decline of forest covers from 16.9 million hectares in 1934 to 8.04 million hectares in 2015. The concerted efforts of the RCI-SRD7 through the Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ National Greening Program (NGP) dates back to 2018 when DENR planted 70 hectares of mahogany to reforest the denuded portions of the Carood watershed convergence. In 2019 and 2020, DENR maintained the said plantations in collaboration with the people’s organizations.

From 2013-2018, Carood records a total of 458 hectares destroyed by forest fires. To prevent further destruction, measures such as the building of fire lines were implemented to reduce fire crossing chances. DENR also assisted in replanting trees for the 458 hectares of area razed down by forest fire.

In 2017, the National Convergence Initiative for Sustainable Rural Development (NCI-SRD) conducted a convergence area development workshop in Bohol to prepare the Carood Watershed Convergence into a full-fledged convergence area. Since its launch on 15 April 2018, the RCI-SRD7 has been actively pouring in programs and projects that answered every specific concern identified by the CWFMC.

DA’s Gift: Road to the Future

With 62 percent of the total land area devoted to agriculture, one of the significant concerns in Carood is the limited road access to the market. The DA supported the Carood watershed convergence by rehabilitating farm-to-market roads worth P32M in 2018. One of the recipients is the municipality of Ubay, which is one of the major producing areas in Bohol. The road rehabilitation project connecting barangay Ilihan to Villa Teresita has provided convenience to the farmers who frequently transport their products. 

Teresita Libres, 52 years old from Brgy. Ilihan has been producing vegetables and sells them to the market. With the farm-to-market road constructed by the DA in 2018, the time consumed for travel has been reduced by 30 minutes as more transportations is now plying in the route and the transportation cost cut by 20 percent, giving her savings.

A tractor worth P1.8M was conferred to the farmers in the municipality of Anda to accelerate their production. Currently, more than 200 farmers have availed of the tractor services, giving them advantages of time efficiency and lessened labor cost.

DAR’s Initiative: Train and Rehabilitate

The demand for cacao beans in the local and international market has prompted the Department of Agrarian Reform to conduct a cacao clonal rehabilitation training for five agrarian reform beneficiaries in the municipality of Alicia in 2020. The activity was in collaboration with the DA and DTI.  

In response to the COVID 19 pandemic, the DAR also rolled out livelihood support to women. Women recipients from the ARBOs of Trinidad, Poblacion, and the Katipunan Farmers’ Eskaya Credit Cooperative in Alicia, received 70 heads of chicken ready to lay eggs, cages complete with accessories, laying machines, and four bags of layer mash with a total cost of P225,000.00.

DILG’s Response: Sustainable Potable Water

Responding to the people’s clamor for potable water, the Department of Interior and Local Government established a potable water supply worth more than P9M in the municipality of Ubay in 2018. In 2019, the DILG expanded the water system in Bacong, Tawid, Anda, and Tipolo, Ubay. The DILG also constructed an evacuation center in Poblacion, Mabini, to provide shelter to the people in times of calamity in 2019. In 2020, DILG had ongoing projects such as expanding the water supply system in barangay Camambugan in Ubay, Bohol.