The Cordillera RDC Executive Committee, during its 27 March 2018, approved and endorsed the Integrated River Basin Management and Development Master Plan for the Apayao-Abulug River Basin to the DENR for adoption and implementation.

The Apayao-Abulug River Basin is one of the 18 major river basins nationwide identified by the River Basin Control Office (RBCO) of the DENR as priority areas for sustainable resource management and development.  It has been the subject of an integrated area development study following the watershed to coastal area resource management framework.

The Master Plan is the result of multi-stakeholder consultations in the sub-watersheds across the river basin.  It identifies programs to address development issues covering water resources management, watershed rehabilitation and preservation, climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction, coastal and aquatic resources management as well as institutional development on local government and community participation in program implementation.

The Apayao-Abulug River Basin covers the provinces of Apayao in the Cordillera and Cagayan in Region II.  It is the 9th largest river system in the Philippines in terms of watershed size with an estimated drainage area of 3,372 square kilometers and a length of 175 kilometers from its source in the mountains of Apayao.  More than 90% of the drainage area of the river is located in Apayao while the remaining, including the mouth of the river, is in Cagayan.

In 2017, the Apayao-Abulug River Basin Council (AARBC) issued Resolution No. 01, series of 2017, endorsing the master plan to the RDC CAR for funding and implementation.  Likewise, Region 2 issued RDC 2-RPOC 2 Resolution No. 02-69-2015 endorsing the master plan to the DENR for approval and adoption.  Identified programs and projects to address water pollution and depletion, watershed degradation, flooding and siltation of river systems include reforestation, river bank stabilization, sustainable farming, flood control infrastructure, waste management, dredging, livelihood projects and the establishment of river basin management councils.

The estimated total investment costs for these programs and projects amount to P 14.3 Billion for a 15-year period.  In its endorsement, the RDC CAR enjoined the regional agencies, local government units, academic institutions, the private sector and other stakeholders within the river basin to consider the Integrated River Basin Management and Development Master Plan for the Apayao-Abulug River Basin in the updating of their development and investment programs.