ASOSAI Seminar on Environmental Auditing on Biodiversity
Philippines - An Introduction
The Philippines is made up of 7,107 islands covering a total land area of 30 million hectares or 299,764 sq. km. Its main island groups are Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao with Manila as capital. About 15.88 million hectares or 53% of the total land area have been classified as forestlands and the remaining 14.12 million hectares or 46% are classified as alienable and disposable lands. The Philippines has only two season, dry and rainy, with average temperatures of 78oF/25oC to 90oF/32oC and humidity of 77%.. The population of the Philippines is about 76.5 million as of 2000 and is about 82.7 million in 2004; majority or about 80% are Catholic, 15% Moslem, and the rest are made up of smaller Christian denominations and Buddhist. English is the medium of instruction in higher education and functional literacy is 83.8%. It has a rich history combining Asian, European, and American influences. Prior to Spanish colonization in 1521, the Filipinos had a rich culture and were trading with the Chinese and the Japanese. Following the Philippine-American war, the United States brought widespread education to the islands. The metric system is used in most trade and legal transaction in the country.
As a developing country, the Philippines’ priority is on economic and social development. In order to hasten development process and restore financial strength, the government recently introduced reforms either through legislative or administrative measures.
2.0 Environment related laws, rules and regulations
Like all other nations in the world, the Philippines also acted to the global call for the protection and conservation of natural environment and ecology. The Philippine Constitution provides for the protection and advancement of the right of the people to a balanced and healthy environment in accord with the rhythm and harmony of nature, to protect the Filipino people from disasters like floods or landslides, and from threats to environmental and economic security like wood and water shortage, biodiversity loss, air pollution and drought. It also provides for the full, efficient and rights-based use of natural resources to abate poverty, promote industrialization and full employment, affirm the diverse cultures of the Filipino, and ensure their availability to present and future generations
Considering the above potential risks, the Government has enacted/issued several laws, rules and regulations directly affecting the environment. These provide measures relevant to environment conservation, offer protection against various environmental offenses/abuses by prohibiting certain activities, and laying down rights and duties. Many of these laws, rules and regulations had been existing for so many years, although some remained either unenforced to a large extent or not thoroughly disseminated to the concerned public and government agencies.
Acknowledging that biodiversity conservation is a global issue, the Philippine Government played a key role is establishing the ASEAN Regional Centre for Biodiversity Conservation (ARCBC) located in Los Banos, Laguna, Philippines, with annex office at Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife Nature Centre at North Avenue, Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines. The World Conservation Monitoring Centre recognized 17 megadiverse countries in July 2000: Australia, Brazil, China, Colombia, Democratic Republic of Congo(DRC) formerly Zaire, Ecuador, India, Indonesia, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mexico, Papua New Guinea, Peru, the Philippines, South Africa, the United States of America (USA) and Venezuela. Together, these 17 countries harbour more than 70% of the earth’s species.
The most recent laws, rules/regulations enacted/issued are: Republic Act (RA) 9147 enacted on July 2001, which provides for the conservation and protection of wildlife resources and their habitats; Executive Order No. 318 issued on June 9, 2004 which promotes sustainable forest management in the Philippines, where innovative financing systems and approaches, such as securitization and collaborative investments, to support SFM and enterprises and the conservation of forest-based biodiversity in the Philippines are encouraged; RA 9072 which provides for implementation of biodiversity conservation programs and projects.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is the primary government agency responsible for the conservation, management, development and proper use of the country’s environment and natural resources, including those in reservations, watershed areas and lands of the public domain, as well as the licensing and regulation of all natural resources utilization as may be provided by law in order to ensure equitable sharing of the benefits derived therefrom for the welfare of the present and future generations of Filipinos. The salient features of the above laws, rules and regulations are;
RA No 9072 covering:
The Philippine National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (NBSAP);
Establishment and Management of Wildlife Rescue Centers;
Philippine Biodiversity Conservation Projects
Philippine Biodiversity Conservation Priority Setting Project (second iteration of the NBDSAP);
National Biosafety Framework Project;
Philippine Biodiversity Inventory;
Establishment of Committees/Councils/Working Groups/Task Forces to oversee/guide the implementation of the plans and programs in relation to CBD; and
Enforcement of the provisions of CITES particularly on trade of threatened wildlife species, and laws, rules and regulations on wildlife protection.
RA No. 9147 covering:
Jurisdiction of the DENR over all terrestrial plant and animal species, including but not limited to crocodiles, water birds and all amphibians and dugong;
Jurisdiction of the Department of Agriculture (DA) over all declared aquatic critical habitats, all aquatic resources including but not limited, to all fishes, aquatic plants, invertebrates and all marine mammals except dugong;
Possession of wildlife by any person or entity, unless such person or entity can prove financial and technical capability and facility to maintain said wildlife; provided, that the source was not obtained in violation of this Act;
Allowing Bioprospecting upon execution of undertaking by any proponent, stipulating therein its compliance with and commitment/s to reasonable terms and conditions that may be imposed by the Secretary which are necessary to protect biological diversity;
Review of any activities dealing on genetic engineering and pathogenic organisms in the Philippines, as well as activities requiring the importation , introduction, field release and breeding of organisms that are potentially harmful to man and the environment shall be reviewed in accordance with the biosafety guidelines ensuring public welfare and the protection and conservation of wildlife and their habitats;
Issuance of permits/certifications/clearances by the Secretary of the DENR or his duly authorized representative, with corresponding period of validity, whenever appropriate;
The determination of reasonable fees and charges upon consultation with concerned groups, and the imposition of the amount fixed by the Secretary;
Prohibition on introduction of exotic species into the country unless a clearance from the DENR Secretary or his authorized representative is first obtained;
Designation of the critical habitats outside protected areas under R.A. No. 7586, where threatened species are found within two (2) years following the effectivity of the Act. All designated, critical habitats shall be protected, in coordination with the local government units (LGUs) and other concerned groups, from any form of exploitations or destruction which may be detrimental to the survival of the threatened species dependent therein.;
Imposition of penalties and/or fines to any person who undertakes illegal acts under Sec. 27 to any species ranging from imprisonment of five (5) days to twelve (12) years and/or fine ranging from P 200 to P 5,000,000 depending on the violations committed.
Executive Order No. 318 (Sustainable Forest Management)providing:
Logging or any commercial exploitation of forestry resources in old growth forests, proclaimed watersheds and other areas covered by the National Integrated Protected Areas (NIPAS) is prohibited to ensure perpetual existence of all native plants and animals;
Delineation, classification and demarcation of State Forestlands;
Holistic, sustainable and integrated development of forestry resources;
Incentives for enhancing private investments, economic contribution and global competitiveness of forest-based industries;
Proper valuation and pricing of forestry resources and financing SFM to promote mechanism for proper valuation and fair and comprehensive pricing of forest products and services, including water for domestic, industrial, irrigation and power generation, biodiversity and eco-tourism and encourage innovative financing systems and approaches, such as securitization and collaborative investments, to support SFM and enterprises and the conservation of forest-based biodiversity in the Philippines;
Promotion, adoption and institutionalization of principles and practices of good governance such as transparency, accountability and participatory decision-making, in transactions, decisions and actions affecting forestry, in all levels, and the policy of streamlining, decentralization, devolution and deregulation:
Collaboration between and among the DENR, NGAs, LGUs, professional forestry organizations, local communities, basic sectors, academic and other research and development institutions and other stakeholders;
Upgrading and intensification of forestry extension services to support CBFM, private forestry, forestry co-management enterprise, and the development of forest-based biodiversity.
A watershed-based integrated ecosystems management approach is deemed appropriate for SFM due to interrelationships and interactions between and among various ecosystems of a watershed such as the uplands and coastal areas;
Conversion of forestland into non-forestry uses shall be allowed only through an Act of Congress and upon the recommendation of concerned government agencies;
Community-Based Forest Management (CBFM) shall be the primary strategy in all forest conservation and development and related activities, including joint ventures, production sharing and co-production by the national government, LGUs, local peoples, community organization, civil society organizations (CSOs), and private business entities;
The Philippines has attended, ratified, acceded and committed to a lot of international conventions, treaties, agreements and protocols related to environment. Among them and the most important ones are: Biodiversity which is one of the major thrusts of the DENR, the government agency responsible for protecting the country’s environment and natural resources, the Philippines acceded and ratified the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) on June 12, 1992 and October 8, 1993, respectively; and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Flora and Fauna (CITES) acceded and ratified on March 3, 1973 and April 20, 1981, respectively. The DENR has been working closely with non-government organizations (NGOs) and other private groups in implementing projects that focus on biodiversity conservation and protected area management.
3.00 Local Government Laws
3.01 In the Philippines, the Local Government Units (LGUs) are composed of Provinces, Cities, Municipalities and Barangays. The LGUs’ operations are guided by R. A. 7160 (Local Government Code), which provides for the devolution of some of the functions of the national government which includes enforcement of natural resources and environmental management laws(such as those relating to ecological solid waste management, air and water pollution) and implementation of community-based forestry projects with a view to increasing economic and social upliftment of the people.
3.02 The LGUs’ operation also covers agricultural/fishery extensions and on-site research, hospital services and other tertiary health care services, social welfare services and implementation of mini-hydro-electric projects.
4.00 Non-Government/People’s Organizations (NGOs/Pos)
4.01 Since various socio-economic issues like poverty, illiteracy, inadequate health care, lack of public awareness, peace and order situation, etc. have emerged as hindrance in protecting the environment, it is necessary to address these problems simultaneously with the improvement of the environment in an integrated manner. Different environmental programs and projects of the DENR such as Integrated Social Forestry, Community-Based Forest Management/Community forestry, Wetland Conservation critical to Biodiversity Conservation, which involves the participation of NGOs/POs are now being implemented nationwide. However, there is still a need for the DENR and the concerned LGU to regularly monitor and meet with accredited NGO/PO to ensure their compliance with the Memorandum of Agreement/Understanding for the successful implementation of the project, and address issues related thereto.
5.00 Major Environmental Issues in the Philippines
5.01 The Philippines’ forestry sector is continuously declining in terms of its bio-physical, economic and environmental aspects. Such decline could be attributed largely to a number of inadequate and poorly-implemented forestry policies that led to the rapid exploitation of timber from virgin forests at prices below real market values. Forest destruction, resources depletion and environmental degradation rose to very alarming levels, while forest recovery through natural and artificial means never coped. Following are the constraints, issues and impacts of the inability to implement an efficient and effective forest management in the country identified in a mission conducted by the DENR and the International Tropical Timber Council:
1. Incomplete enabling environment;
Weak implementation of existing policies;
Unclearly defined permanent forest estate;
Lack of enabling environment for private investment;
Lack of up to date contemporary resource information;
Timber production only focus on FM plans;
Inadequate post-logging control and rehabilitation; and
Unclear sustainability of Community-Based Forest Management (CBFM) area.
1. Frustrated stakeholder expectations;
Continued poverty for upland dwellers;
Reduced contribution to GDM/ESSD;
Continued species/habitat loss and degradation;
Watershed degradation; and
Decline of forest resources and cover.
Just recently, due to the calamity (flood) experienced by the Philippines on account of denuded forests, the DENR Secretary ordered the cancellation of all logging/cutting permits in Quezon Province and suspension of all logging/cutting permits in the rest of the country.
5.02 DENR reports showed that as of December 31, 2001, forest lands covered 15.885 million ha. or 53% of the total land area of the Philippines. The remaining 43% of the land area is classified as alienable and disposable lands. Of the 15.885 million ha., 14.766 million have been identified as forest reserves of some type which includes 3.273 million ha. of established timberlands and 10.228 million ha. of national parks, game reserves and bird sanctuaries. There are also 125 watershed forest reserves which cover an aggregate area of 1.499 million ha. and 0.885 million ha. of unclassified forest lands are still unclassified. While the area of forest lands is quite extensive, the legacy of past forest loss and degradation is such that the area of actual forest is much less, covering just 5.4 million ha. or 18% of the total land area. Deforestation is continuing at a rate of 89,000 ha. per year or 1.4% of the national forest area each year. Compared with annual deforestation rate in Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia, with 0.7%, 1.2% and 1.2% per annum, respectively, Philippines has the highest rate.
5.03 With the enactment of R.A. No. 9147 (Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act), the DENR, strengthened, among others, the conservation of the country’s biological diversity through: a) the establishment, management and development of the National Integrated Protected Areas System (NIPAS); b) conservation of wildlife resources; and c) information and education for nature conservation. The Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau (PAWB) of the DENR charged with the responsibility, envisions a perpetual existence of biological and physical diversities in a system of protected areas and such other important biological components of the environment managed by a well-informed and empowered citizenry for the sustainable use and enjoyment of present and future generations. Thus, PAWB embarked on Biodiversity Conservation through:
a) wetland Conservation Program by identifying wetlands critical to biodiversity conservation which conform to the following criteria:
1. serve as habitats for endemic wetland plants and animals, including fishes; and support an appreciable assemblage of rare, vulnerable or endangered species;
important staging area for migratory shorebirds;
with high diversity of natural population of invertebrates and fishes and very important breeding and nursery areas for many ecologically important wetland species; and
good representative examples of natural or near natural wetlands that play substantial hydrological, biological or ecological roles in the natural functioning of a major river basin or coastal system.
b) streamlining of the implementing rules and regulations(IRR) on Bioprospecting (E.O. 247)-A unit within the PAWB was created to implement E. O. 247 that conducted series of seminars and orientations in various government agencies on monitoring and research agreements and evaluated and acted upon twenty three (23) applications pertaining to bioprospecting;
c) the establishment and construction of the ASEAN Regional Centre for Biodiversity Conservation (ARCBC) by virtue of the Financing Agreement between the Commission of the European Communities and the Government of the Philippines on behalf of the Association of Southeast Asean Nation (ASEAN) in July 1997. It is a five-year (1999-2004) joint cooperation project between the ASEAN and the European Union (EU). The EU provides the financial and technical assistance to the Centre’s operations and major activities while the ASEAN provides office space, facilities and support personnel. The ARCBC serves as a focal point for collaboration among ASEAN countries and between the ASEAN and the EU in the areas of networking, training and extension, biodiversity research and data management. The original members of the project are: Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. Lao PDR and Cambodia officially became members after the approval of Rider No. 1 to the Financing Agreement (FA) in June 2002. The Centre operates through its Philippine Headquarters in Los Banos, Laguna and its Annex in Quezon City, Philippines as well as the National Biodiversity Reference Units in each member country. The DENR is the Project’s Executing Agency;
d) promotion of the National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan(NBSAP). The NBSAP was launched on December 29, 1997 and is one of the major outputs of the Philippine Biodiversity Country Study (PBCS) Project of the DENR and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). It contains various strategies and action plans formulated to address the problems and concerns which constantly threatens the future of the country’s biodiversity, in consonance with the Convention on Biological Biodiversity’s objective of conservation, sustainable use and equitable sharing of the benefits of the country’s biodiversity. The DENR reported that intensive information, education and communication (IEC) activities have been undertaken, such as the production and distribution of some 19,000 IEC materials and conduct of 31 trainings/seminars/workshops participated in by DENR personnel and local communities.
5.04 Accomplishment/Activities undertaken by the PAWB in accordance with the Philippine Commitments Under the International Agreement/Organization (Convention on Biological Diversity):
1. Policies formulated/implemented:
National Integrated Protected Areas System (R.A. 7586);
Executive Order No. 247 “Prescribing guidelines and establishing a regulatory framework for the prospecting of biological and genetic resources, their by-products and derivatives, for scientific and commercial purposes, and for other purposes”;
Republic Act No. 9147 “Wildlife Conservation and Protection Act”;and
IRR of RA 9147.
2. IRR of RA 9147 containing:
Implementation of biodiversity conservation program:
National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (NBSAP);
Establishment and Management of Wildlife Rescue Centers;
Philippine Biodiversity Conservation Priority Setting Project (Second Iteration of the NBSAP);and
Implementation of the National Biosafety Framework Project.
Implementation of Biodiversity Conservation Projects:
Philippine Raptors Conservation Program;
Pawikan Conservation Program;
Tamaraw Conservation Program;
Palawan Wildlife Rescue and Conservation Center (formerly Crocodile Farming Institute);
Other biodiversity conservation projects:
Visayan Warty Pigs;
Philippine Spotted Deer;
Philippine Cloud Rats;
Philippine Crocodile – Philippine Tarsier;
Conservation research on Philippine Birds and Mammals Field Inventory and Conservation of Philippine Land Vertebrates;and
Philippine Biodiversity Inventory;
3. Established Committees/Councils/Working Groups/Task Forces to oversee/guide the implementation of the plans and programs in relation to CBD; and
4. Attended international meetings related to CBD.
Activities currently being undertaken by the PAWB:
Information Education Campaign (IEC);
Capacity-building and training;
Development of Philippine National Biodiversity Framework;
Implementation of biodiversity conservation programs/projects;
Technology transfer, particularly on conservation breeding and management of crocodylus porosus;
Conservation breeding of some threatened Philippine wild fauna, such as Philippine spotted deer, Visayan warty pig, Crocodylus mindorensis, among others;
Enforcement of the provisions of CITES particularly on trade of threatened wildlife species, and laws, rules and regulations on wildlife protection; and
Attendance to the CBD conference of the Parties and other meetings related to CBD.
5.06 Accomplishments on Watershed Management by the Forest Management Bureau (FMB) of the DENR:
Preparation of Watershed Management Plan prescribed under DENR Memo No. 97-02;
Charactirization of watershed reservations;
Rehabilitation of degraded watershed areas;
Created a Task Force on water management under E. O. No. 374 which is tasked to:
Prioritize programs and projects for sustainable, adequate, safe and affordable water supply;
Coordinate the programs and projects of over twenty (20) government agencies and departments involved in water to ensure efficient management and development of the country’s water resources;
Plan and coordinate water supply and allocation of water resources.
5. Implemented the Integrated Forestry Program (ISFP) to maximize upland production and enhance ecological protection, promote social justice and uplift the socio-economic condition of upland farmers. Some ISFP are devolved to the LGUs since 1992.
5.07 To finance Forestry Sector Projects on sustainable forest management, the Government sought foreign loans and grants from multi-lateral and bilateral sources. This enabled the DENR to address to a certain extent, the root causes of forest destruction and environmental degradation. Some of the projects were: watershed rehabilitation, mangrove rehabilitation, reforestation, etc.
ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES IN ENVIRONMENTAL AUDITING
6.01 The Philippines’ Commission on Audit (COA), derives authority in exercising its full powers from the 1987 Philippine Constitution and related additional Acts/Laws. The Constitution empowers COA to:
Examine, audit and settle all accounts pertaining to the revenue and receipts of, and expenditures or uses of funds and property owned or held in trust by, or pertaining to the government; and
Promulgate accounting and auditing rules and regulations including those for the prevention and disallowance of irregular, unnecessary, excessive, extravagant or unconscionable expenditures, or uses of government funds and properties.
The functions of COA in accordance with 1987 Constitution are:
Submit annual reports to the President and the Congress on the financial condition and operation of the government;
Recommend measures to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of government operations;
Keep the general accounts of government and preserve the vouchers and supporting papers pertaining thereto;
Decide on any case brought before it within 60 days; and
Perform such other duties and functions as may be provided by law.
6.03 The COA is headed by the Commission Proper composed of the Chairman and two Commissioners, with the Chairman as the Chief Executive Officer. The organizational chart of the COA is presented in Annex I. COA presently employs approximately 12,000 personnel, out of which 7,809 or 65% represents auditors distributed among the different auditing sectors.
Environmental audits are conducted/being conducted by the following offices of COA:
National Government Sector ( NGS) which is responsible in:
Conducting yearly financial audit of the accounts of the agency;
Expressing an opinion on the agency’s financial statements.
2. Management Services (MS) – responsible in conducting performance audit of different programs and projects of the government.
The audit of environmental projects by the MS was included in the performance audit of public debt. Among the projects covered are watershed and mangrove rehabilitation. The audit was conducted to assess the usefulness/relevance and utilization of the projects funded from foreign borrowings. As such, evaluation was based on laws, rules and regulations on foreign borrowings, loan agreements and project feasibility studies.
The audit focused on the evaluation of whether selected projects which are still being paid/guaranteed by the National Government and with significant balances, still exists, in good condition and being utilized for the purpose intended. The team assessed the capability of implementing agencies (IAs)/officers to undertake and sustain the projects considering that delays in implementation entails additional costs in terms of commitment fees while inability to sustain it upon completion would not serve its purpose.
The agencies included in the audit are the:
National Economic Development Authority (NEDA);
Department of Finance (DOF);
Bureau of the Treasury (BTr);
Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP); and
Municipal Development Fund Office (MDFO).
To attain the objective, the team evaluated and inspected selected foreign-assisted projects implemented by the DENR, National Irrigation Administration (NIA), National Power Corporation (NPC), Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), and the Department of Agriculture (DA), to ascertain its existence, sustainability and utilization.
The team inspected selected projects implemented in Regions VI and VII which include the following projects implemented by the DENR:
Maasin Watershed Rehabilitation Project in Iloilo
Project Cost = P 74.30 million
Total area = 3,549.80 ha. or 53% of the Maasin watershed reserve
The watershed is the main source of Iloilo City water supply
The objectives of the project are to:
improve the socio-economic conditions of the communities in and around the watershed;
minimize soil loss and sedimentation of Tigum river and its tributaries by stabilizing stream banks;
establish forest plantations in areas cultivated/farmed by residents of nearby barangays along the periphery of the watershed; and
establish bamboo and rattan plantations.
It was envisioned that planting of endemic and fast growing tree species within the project will improve bio-diversity in the area in due time; promote good soil water holding capacity thus reducing the risk of flash floods, soil erosion and sedimentation. Water yield and quality will also improve as a result of vegetation cover;
The plantation development will increase the stumpage stock of the watershed, thus, can be viewed as a future timber reserve and sources of other valuable watershed resources. About 568,908 cu. m. of timber could be easily raised in the project.
Employment opportunities to the watershed communities dependent on watershed resources, thus reducing the deforestation rate in the watershed.
2. Northern Iloilo Mangrove Rehabilitation
Project Cost = P 10.06 million
Location = Municipality of Carles (8 barangays)
Total area = 355.64 ha. to be reforested with Rhizophora species; 175.80 ha. of existing mangrove forest to be preserved and protected.
Objective - the implementation of the project is expected to contribute to the protection of coastal area from erosion, protection of the communities from strong wind, keep the marine ecosystem from community wastes and providing habitat and nesting ground for wildlife and migratory bird, improvement of vegetative cover and scenery for the overall balance of the environment.
3. Mananga-Kotkot-Lusaran (MKL)Watershed Rehabilitation
Project Cost = P 141.75 million
Location = Cities of Cebu, Talisay and Danao, Cebu Province
Total area = 9896.46 ha.
The objective of the project is to establish, manage, and safeguard protection zones for sustenance of water yield and natural as well as permanent habitat of endemic wildlife; to rehabilitate and re-vegetate degraded lands in the restoration zones with indigenous species and to establish soil and water conservation measures especially along water channels; to educate watershed residents and increase their awareness on watershed protection, biodiversity conservation, wildlife conservation and appropriate upland farming technologies; to enforce forest protection laws, rules and regulations thru community-based and multi-sectoral approaches.
Following are the observations of the team during the ocular inspection conducted on December 3 and 6, 2004:
1. Maasin Watershed Rehabilitation Project in Iloilo
The site development was completed. Reforestation and agroforestry component have been established. The project’s success is dependent on the ability of the concerned People’s Organization (PO) to sustain maintenance and protection activities in the project.
The KAPAWA (the PO involved in the project) constructed infrastructures more than the required number which indicates the strong commitment of the PO to the project success;
Biodiversity within the project area increased with the planting of endemic and fast growing tree species;
Considering the efficient maintenance of the project by the PO whose members are residents of the watershed area and with the support of the LGU (Mun. of Maasin), undoubtedly, water yield and quality will improve as a result of better vegetative cover;
The rehabilitation of the 9.465 km. farm-to-market road which is passable even during rainy season, as noted during inspection, will further facilitate improvement, maintenance and development of the watershed reserve. It will also facilitate the marketing of agricultural and livelihood products of the PO and residents of adjacent communities.
Employment opportunities were created as a result of sustainable development of the watershed. The team noted the livelihood projects initiated by KAPAWA from agricultural products from the watershed.
The area is also potential for eco-tourism. This is another avenue that could be explored by the PO and LGU as it can provide economic opportunities in the area;
The project is fully supported by the PO members and residents of the area who gave up their cultivated farms in favor of forest rehabilitation and settlements inside the watershed area. This has contributed to the overall success of the project.
2. Northern Iloilo Mangrove Rehabilitation
The project was already completed and in due time, the area will be thoroughly rehabilitated and the POs that implemented it including the barangay residents will benefit therefrom in terms of harvests (fish, crabs, seaweeds, etc.). It will also provide sanctuary for migratory birds and other wildlife.
3. Mananga-Kotkot-Lusaran (MKL)Watershed Rehabilitation
The project is located within the protected areas of Mananga Watershed and Kotkot-Lusaran Rivers Watershed Forest Reserves with total area of 20,944.0 has. However, actual area completed under the project was only 3,682.22 has. which were located in patches within the watershed area.
Sustainability of the project was not assured due to:
Reluctance of the PO members to maintain the project without payt;
POs were not organized and encouraged to implement livelihood projects within the watershed area which they could maintain along with the maintenance and protection of the area rehabilitated;
The PO members and watershed residents were not well-informed of the objective and concept of the program;
The PO members were not given assurance by the DENR authority that they will be benefited by the rehabilitation efforts they will do in the area; and
Improper maintenance of the area rehabilitated since during the inspection, the trees planted in the area covered by the PO were surrounded by tall grasses, reducing their survival rate.
To improve project implementation and ensure sustainability of the projects, the team recommends the following alternative courses of actions:
The DENR should ensure that the POs organized to undertake the project are well-informed of the project objectives, their roles and responsibilities under the project and the benefits they could derive from the project, before implementing the same;
Better practices from similar projects implemented could be used as example for implementation in other areas to ensure PO members and watershed residents’ cooperation which is critical for project success.
Enhance coordination efforts between the DENR officers/representatives and the POs and community to foster strong commitment and cooperation.