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DENR, Rizal ink deals for water security, sustainable tourism projects

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and government officials from Rizal have signed agreements for projects aimed at enhancing water security and promoting regenerative tourism in the province. 

DENR Secretary Maria Antonia Yulo-Loyzaga and Rizal Governor Nina Ricci Ynares launched on Thursday Project TRANSFORM (Transdisciplinary Approach for Resilience and Environmental Sustainability through Multistakeholder Engagement).

During the launch, Yulo-Loyzaga, Prime Infrastructure Capital Inc., and local government officials of Rizal signed a memorandum of agreement for a sustainable water security project.

This partnership aims to achieve several goals: increasing the forest cover of the Upper Marikina River Basin Protected Landscape, reducing its vulnerability to erosion and landslides, boosting water supply for lowland communities, and addressing both poverty alleviation and food security in upland communities.

The DENR and Rizal government also launched the following projects:

“[This project] really targets those areas that have far-reaching impacts not just on their own provinces but also their surrounding areas as well in terms of regional development and contribution to nationals development,” Yulo-Loyzaga said. 

Rizal hosts five protected areas: Hinulugang Taktak Protected Landscape, Pamitinan Protected Landscape, Kaliwa River Forest Reserve, Upper Marikina River Basin Protected Landscape, and National Park, Wildlife Sanctuary and Game Preserve recognized under Presidential Proclamation 1636.

“The launching of Project TRANSFORM would help make every Rizaleno a better steward of Mother Nature. It would help us based on the transformation of our communities into a more resilient and sustainable home, where our children, our future, and our dreams can be nourished and nurtured,” Governor Nina Ynares said. 

Project TRANSFORM seeks to converge efforts and expertise of the government, academe, private sector, and civil society to alleviate poverty through green and blue jobs, enhance community resilience to the impacts of climate change, and promote strong public-private partnerships.

The project originated as an