Senator Nancy Binay has urged the Senate Committee on Energy to review the mandate, powers and functions of the National Power Corp. (NPC) with respect to the management and rehabilitation of watersheds.
Binay said there is a need to address the current overlapping functions of government agencies and the private sector with regard to watershed management.
In filing Senate Resolution No. 566, the senator pointed out there is an overlapping function between the NPC and the National Greening Program (NGP) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) with regards to managing watersheds.
“We need to address overlapping functions among various government agencies implementing watershed management projects, programs and activities,” Binay said.
“We need to introduce reforms which will enable NPC to set its priorities and optimize the use of its resources consistent with present circumstances,” Binay added.
She said both the Department of Energy (DOE) and DENR have raised concerns on the outdated watershed management function of the NPC considering that privatization has led to the transfer of maintenance and management of the watersheds to private companies.
Also, during the hearing on the proposed budget of DOE, she said officials disclosed that aside from government agencies, watersheds are also being maintained and managed by private companies that have contracts with the government.
According to the NPC’s official website, NPC manages 11 watershed areas with a total land area of 485,199 hectares through its Watershed Management Department. These watersheds, which support power generation, domestic water supply and irrigation, are managed through rehabilitation, protection and resources development.
Aside from this, the NPC is also a part of the DENR’s NGP which aims to rehabilitate 1.2 million hectares of denuded forest lands by 2022 and the maintenance and protection of existing forests.