The Online Magazine for Sustainable Seas
October, 2001 Vol.4 No.10
in the Philippines play a key role as technical assistance providers to
municipalities and cities in coastal resource management. Three provinces
model the way.
Sixty-four out of the 78 Philippine provinces border coasts and thus play a crucial role in the success of CRM at the local level. National laws and regulations give provinces the mandate to undertake program planning and implementation, legislation and enforcement, taxation and revenue-generation, monitoring and evaluation, capability building, and inter-agency and inter-LGU collaboration (DENR et al. 2001) (Table 1).
Recognizing this important role of the province, the Coastal Resource Management Project (CRMP) has evolved since 1996 from assisting mostly municipalities and cities to a strong emphasis on providing support to “learning area provinces” to help them as service providers for CRM in LGUs. The experiences of three provinces are highlighted in this article to illustrate different strategies undertaken at the provincial level to deliver CRM as a basic service to coastal municipalities and cities (Figure 1). The Provinces of Bohol and Davao del Sur encompass two of the original learning areas of CRMP that commenced work in 1996, while the Province of Masbate became a CRMP expansion area in 2000.
Bohol: Charting CRM through legislation
Bohol is one of the four provinces comprising Central Visayas. Its population of 1,137,268 includes approximately 100,000 marginal fishers, gleaners, and fish vendors (NCSO 2000).
Bohol has one city (Tagbilaran) and 47 municipalities, of which 30 are coastal. Its coastline of 642 km borders about 6,427 square km of municipal waters that, historically, supported one of the richest fisheries in central Philippines (Green et al. 2000a, 2000b). Today, Bohol is plagued by extreme poverty in the coastal communities that is exacerbated by rampant illegal and destructive fishing, increasing pollution and sedimentation, and uncoordinated and weak coastal law enforcement.
Bohol has a strong foundation for environmental management, particularly for CRM. The province is a preferred pilot area for coastal management projects, with several development initiatives completed, in progress and proposed. It was a beneficiary of the World Bank-assisted Central Visayas Regional Project (1984-1992), its first ever community-based resource management project. Since 1996, it has benefited from three USAID-funded projects that focused on governance and environmental management: the Governance and Local Democracy (GOLD) Project , CRMP, and Industrial Initiative for Sustainable Environment Project. Other projects are also being implemented by Manila-based and local NGOs. These CRM initiatives have encouraged provincial legislation that allows legal and institutional arrangements for CRM to operate at the provincial level. Major highlights of this process are:
Creation of provincial CRM task force. The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) initiated the formation of a provincial CRM task force as laid down in Executive Order No. 118, which identified Bohol as one of 20 priority provinces for CRM, to ensure proper coordination between and among the national government agencies (NGAs) in the province, provincial offices, NGOs, and foreign-funded projects. Some members of the task force were trained in facilitating participatory coastal resource assessment (PCRA), mangrove management, marine protected area (MPA) establishment and management, and CRM planning.
Formulation of Bohol environment code. In 1997, the Governor, in coordination with the GOLD Project, called an environment summit to enhance public awareness and target specific areas for government intervention. The main output of the summit was an environment code that integrates existing national laws into the local governance system (Sangguniang Panlalawigan 1998) CRM is one of nine major sectors addressed in the code, which mandated the creation of the Bohol Environmental Management Office (BEMO) responsible for its implementation. Municipalities use the code as legal basis and guide in formulating their CRM policies and plans, with BEMO acting as umbrella for and integrator of all CRM activities in the province (Table 2).
Bohol Environmental Management Office. Once operational, the BEMO CRM Section, together with CRMP and USAID-GOLD, created its own CRM learning areas in the eastern and southern parts of the province, where few CRM initiatives had taken place. It has since provided technical assistance to about 10 municipalities in the conduct of PCRA and CRM planning and implementation, led in the implementation of province-initiated environmental programs, and assisted in the conduct of monitoring and evaluation in the learning area municipalities of CRMP in 2000 and 2001. Together, BEMO and CRMP have now reached over 70% of the coastal municipalities of Bohol. For certain components such as coastal law enforcement, all coastal towns in the province have benefited from BEMO’s techical assistance.
In line with the Regional Development Council’s resolution creating a CRM certification system for Region 7, BEMO, through an executive order from the Governor, has also been directed to be the Secretariat for the provincial CRM Certification Technical Working Group (TWG). As Secretariat, it facilitates annual monitoring of CRM plans and programs and evaluates the performance of municipalities in CRM.
District coastal law enforcement councils. Coastal law enforcement is a key strategy of the province for sustaining CRM. To enhance inter-LGU collaboration, the provincial government formed coastal law enforcement councils (CLECs) in its three congressional districts. BEMO serves as the coordinating office of the CLECs. Law enforcement is now conducted by the councils with full support from the provincial and municipal governments in coordination with the Philippine National Police, Philippine Coast Guard, and community-based organizations.
Facilitation Role of CRMP
CRMP played a crucial role in capacitating the province in CRM. Since 1998, CRMP and BEMO have worked together in both the CRMP learning areas and the BEMO learning areas in the south and east of Bohol, with strict counterparting of staff, resources and technical assistance. The 1999 MOA between CRMP, DENR, DA-BFAR and the province concretized this partnership.
In preparation for CRMP’s exit, BEMO has beefed up its CRM Section from one person in 1998 to seven staff, all of whom have become well-versed and competent in the tools, methods, and materials developed by CRMP, through their progressive activities and demands for technical assistance from LGUs.Masbate: Political will in action
Masbate, one of the six provinces of the Bicol Region, lies exactly in the center of the Philippine archipelago. It has 39 islands and islets, an aggregate coastline of 968 km, and jurisdiction over about 10,000 square km of municipal marine waters. Its 20 municipalities and one city all border the coast.
Surrounded by the major fishing grounds of Masbate Pass, Asid Gulf, Samar Sea, Sibuyan Sea, Ticao Pass, Burias Pass and Visayan Sea (PPDO 2001), Masbate relies heavily on fisheries, with about 67 percent of its total population of 707,668 (NCSO 2000) directly dependent on fishing for livelihood. As in many other Philippine provinces, since 1990, Masbate-based fishers have seen a decline in catch due to destruction of corals, illegal and destructive fishing practices, and inadequate coastal law enforcement.
In the past, coastal programs in the province were focused mainly on fishery production and conservation. The Masbate Fishery Development Program, which started in 1994, sought to improve the living condition of fishers primarily by employing sustainable technology and community-based fisheries conservation measures (CRMP 2000). This changed in 2000, when the province began implementing an expanded program covering other aspects of CRM and environmental management. With encouragement from the Governor and Vice-Governor, the provincial government allocated PhP2.2 million for its Marine Conservation and Fishery Development Program in 2000, and PhP2.5 million for its Environment Management Program for 2001. For a relatively underdeveloped province, this allocation was a major commitment. The CRM budget came from the 20 percent Economic Development Fund and is detailed in Table 3.
The major achievements of Masbate are:
Creation of provincial CRM core group. Aware of the need to promote inter-agency collaboration, the provincial government created the provincial CRM core group composed of technical staff from the Provincial Planning and Development Office (PPDO), the provincial government’s Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (DFAR), Sangguniang Panlalawigan, Provincial Agricultural Office, Environment and Natural Resources Office (ENRO), DENR, DA-BFAR, Department of Trade and Industry, Department of Science and Technology, and Department of the Interior and Local Government.
The core group was organized primarily to promote CRM as both framework and program of development among Masbate LGUs, and coordinate all CRM-related activities being undertaken by NGAs, NGOs and LGUs in the province. As planned, it would also serve as an interim task force responsible for delivering technical assistance in CRM to the municipal LGUs, at least until such time when the province has established a permanent office to perform this critical function.
To capacitate them as technical assistance providers, core group members were first exposed to field-level implementation of CRM during a cross-visit to Bohol and Negros Oriental, and subsequently trained in the various aspects of CRM. The growing demand for technical assistance from municipal LGUs has allowed them to hone their skills as CRM trainers and implementors, and at the same time develop into a cohesive group of technically competent CRM service providers focused on the felt needs of the coastal communities they are tasked to serve. Regular meetings among members, as well as frequent consultations with municipal LGU partners, enable the group to keep track of current issues, assess program implementation, and come up with a consensus on targets and strategies for CRM in the province.
Capability building. The provincial CRM core group was the focus of CRMP assistance, but technical staff from the province’s 20 municipalities and one city were also trained to help ensure that there would be “CRM champions” to push for and undertake CRM at the community level. CRMP facilitated provincial government-sponsored trainer’s trainings on ICM and PCRA, mangrove management, coastal tourism and shoreline management, monitoring and evaluation, and coastal law enforcement. Core group members have, in turn, served as facilitators and resource persons at various seminars and activities at the municipal level.
PCRA and CRM planning. Using the Province’s Fishery Development and Marine Conservation Fund with counterpart funding from the municipalities, the provincial core group has completed PCRA and CRM planning in 10 municipalities. In some municipalities, the core group is helping coordinate CRM activities being undertaken by NGOs and donor projects, such as Plan International, the World Bank-funded Community-Based Resource Management Project, and the German-funded Visayan Sea Project, among others.
The direct involvement of key provincial government staff in CRM has influenced policy-making and planning at both the provincial and municipal levels. Some core group members are also members of the Provincial Land Use Committee (PLUC), which is now in the process of reviewing the proposed land use plans of the municipalities. Through these members’ representation, the PLUC has taken steps to ensure that coastal management issues and concerns pertaining to shoreline and foreshore area management are addressed, and management strategies are integrated in the proposed plans.
With NAMRIA assistance, the core group has also taken the lead in the delineation of the municipal water boundaries of all municipalities. In 2000, the province sponsored a workshop where LGU-designated municipal representatives delineated and delimited their municipal waters using the technical guidelines prescribed by DENR Administrative Order 17-2001. Delineation is expected to be completed in 2002, when NAMRIA shall have submitted the complete technical description of Masbate’s municipal waters for adoption, through a municipal or city ordinance, by the respective LGUs.Formulation of Masbate environment code. Masbate is only the third province in the country to formulate an environment code (after Bohol and Misamis Occidental). Inspired by the Bohol example of enacting an environment code, the province initiated in early 2000 a year-long process that resulted in the adoption of the Masbate Provincial Environment Code. The formulation process was largely participatory, with extensive public consultation and intensive analysis and legal review. The code was approved by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan in December 2000.
An important component of the code is the creation of the Provincial Office on Environment and Natural Resource Management (POEM) by merging the ENRO and DFAR. The POEM’s main tasks are to oversee the implementation of the code, coordinate the implementation of environmental programs, and monitor the enforcement of laws, rules and regulations on environment and natural resource management in the province. CRM is a banner program of the newly created office.
Facilitation Role of CRMP
When the Governor requested CRMP to provide assistance to Masbate, CRMP made it clear that it could only provide assistance in the form of training and materials for government and community education. The support shown by the Governor and the Sangguniang Panlalawigan, and the dedication and commitment of the provincial CRM core group encouraged CRMP to include Masbate as an expansion area. It was agreed that Masbate would provide all the financial and logistical support needed in the implementation of CRM programs at the provincial and municipal levels, and that CRMP would provide the technical expertise for the different phases of project implementation. CRMP’s overall strategy was to develop a pool of technically competent personnel at the provincial level who would be ready and able to provide technical assistance, on demand, to the municipalities (CRMP 2000)<link to crmp2000 below>. Since 2000, CRMP has provided resource persons and facilitators to the different trainings and seminars initiated by the provincial government. CRMP also served as lead facilitator in the formulation of the environment code.
Key to CRMP’s sustainability strategy for Masbate is the establishment of a mechanism in the provincial government to ensure continued support to municipalities as they perform their CRM work. Such mechanism is lodged in the PPDO, which has a mandate to allocate resources for the implementation of the Masbate Environment Management Program out of the 20 percent Economic Development Fund, and the provincial CRM core group, which, because of its growing reputation among municipal LGUs as a competent source of technical assistance in CRM, has developed into a reliable CRM service provider that sustains and reinforces itself. Eventually, as its programs and mandates become more clearly defined, the newly created POEM is expected to assume a bigger role as technical assistance provider in CRM in Masbate.Davao del Sur: Strength in collaboration
Davao del Sur in Mindanao is bounded by Davao City on the North, Davao Gulf on the east, and Celebes Sea on the south. All of its 11 municipalities, including Digos City, border the coast. The province has a total population of 758,801 (NCSO 2000). Its coastal and marine waters cover part of the Sarangani Strait, Celebes Sea, and Davao Gulf.
Once blessed with abundant, diverse, and economically productive coastal and marine resources, Davao del Sur is now experiencing a significant decline in fisheries resulting from the degradation of its coastal resource base. The main factors causing this decline are destructive fishing practices and overfishing; pollution from domestic, agricultural, and industrial sources; and sedimentation of waterways from deforestation in the uplands that drains to the sea (Valle et al. 2000). These and related socio-economic problems – increasing poverty in coastal communities, weak legal and institutional support at the LGU level, and limited community awareness and participation in CRM – as well as several new CRM initiatives in the province, encouraged Davao del Sur to plan for a more integrated approach to CRM (Provincial Government of Davao del Sur 2001).
An important component of Davao del Sur’s CRM approach was the strengthening of inter-agency collaboration in CRM. It includes:
Creation of provincial CRM Technical Working Group. At the onset of CRMP’s intervention in the five municipalities within the Malalag Bay area, steps were taken to create a provincial CRM TWG. The provincial CRM TWG was composed of representatives from the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO), Fisheries Unit under the Provincial Governor’s Office, PPDO, and CENRO-DENR, with CRMP providing technical assistance and guidance. When the Integrated Fisheries and Resource Management Council (IFARMC) was formed, its president became an active member of the TWG, and, later, the Provincial Fisheries Officer of BFAR also joined the group.
To strengthen their technical capability to implement CRM, the TWG members were trained in, among others, ICM, PCRA, and mangrove management. The provincial LGU’s role in CRM is reinforced by an executive order issued by the Governor mandating the PENRO to be the lead coordinating office in the protection, conservation, rehabilitation and management of the coastal resources of Davao del Sur.
PCRA and CRM planning. With support from CRMP, the Malalag Bay area municipalities took the lead in conducting community-level PCRA activities, while the provincial CRM TWG provided technical and training assistance to the municipal TWG, both in processing PCRA results and helping facilitate CRM planning at the barangay and municipal levels.
Monitoring and evaluation. Part of the responsibility of the provincial CRM TWG was also to assist Digos City and the municipalities within the Malalag Bay area in the monitoring and evaluation (M&E) of program implementation. Following an orientation on the monitoring strategies and guidelines prescribed by CRMP, the provincial CRM TWG conducted municipal M&E orientations, and spearheaded provincial meetings where municipalities presented their M&E results.
Formulation of CRM framework plan. The formulation of the Five-year Provincial CRM Plan was a 10-month planning process led by the provincial ENRO, with the participation of other TWG members in numerous write-shops and consultations with the municipalities concerned. The PCRA results and the municipal CRM plans of the Malalag Bay area municipalities and Digos City served as vital inputs to the development of the provincial CRM framework plan.
Inter-agency implementing mechanisms. As planning progressed, it became clear to the members of the TWG that inter-agency collaboration to implement CRM at the provincial level was crucial and could produce concrete and positive results.While finalizing the provincial CRM framework plan, the group also developed a coordinating mechanism for plan implementation. This inter-agency coordinating structure (Figure 2) was eventually included in the framework plan, in addition to the implementation structure (Figure 3).
Facilitation Role of CRMP. The role of an external agent such as CRMP was crucial in enabling the provincial government to take the lead in forging partnerships with relevant offices within the province, NGAs, and other organizations, such as the IFARMC. To strengthen inter-agency collaboration, CRMP facilitated initial meetings, where each agency’s role and functions were clarified, and a coordinating structure that included all key players was developed. Also important in building the provincial TWG’s capability for CRM was the training and hands-on experience that members went through in providing technical assistance to the municipalities and in developing a provincial CRM framework plan. In addition to facilitation, CRMP found mentoring and guiding to be effective strategies for strengthening the TWG’s technical capabilities.Lessons learned
Effective implementation of development projects is often hindered by weak leadership and the lack of political will by local government officials. Political will is the determination and sincerity of the one in power to implement programs and enforce law. Although often misused, political will has translated into real actions in CRM for Masbate. The commitment shown by the provincial CRM core group has inspired the provincial officials to be proactive in CRM implementation. The concept of CRM as a development strategy is new to the province, but the provincial government, driven by a pool of trainable and competent technical staff, moved quickly to enact an environment code, to allocate budget for CRM, provide technical assistance to municipalities, and to create an office, all concrete manifestations of support from the provincial leaders.Davao del Sur
The experience of Davao del Sur points to the importance of strengthening inter-agency collaboration and coordination in ensuring effective implementation of CRM programs at the provincial level. The role of a facilitating agent (internal or external) is essential in the early stages of the group’s formation. It is also important that roles and responsibilities are clarified and the lead group or agency is identified. Jointly implementing concrete CRM activities like assisting municipalities with PCRAs, development of CRM plans, conducting training, and monitoring and evaluation, sustains the group’s momentum and builds team spirit. Given its defined and implied functions relative to CRM, the provincial LGU proved to be an effective lead coordinating body of the provincial CRM TWG. A key lesson is that official support and legal mandate – which, in Davao del Sur’s case, is articulated in an executive order – are needed to mainstream CRM functions and responsibilities within the provincial structure.
Database and Information Management
CRMP has developed the Municipal Coastal Database (MCD), a system that simplifies and standardizes database management on CRM activities at the LGU level for planning, monitoring and evaluation. The province, through the PPDO, can serve as the consolidation node for the MCD and other environmental and natural resources management data. Data generated through the MCD can be used in developing programs to support local level implementation.Training and Capability Building
For the province to provide technical and training assistance to municipalities, a pool of trainers should be formed at the provincial level. The province must allocate regular funds for personnel to build up its CRM unit. Continuous training of provincial personnel in CRM planning and implementation, data management, fisheries management, biophysical assessment and monitoring, MPA establishment and monitoring, and other aspects is essential. DENR, BFAR, other training organizations, and the academe can be tapped to provide training.Policy Advocacy and Reforms
The province has a responsibility in developing and promoting policies that support CRM through analysis of problems in the area, and developing guidelines for management or an environmental code. Provinces can develop framework plans that highlight the needs of CRM in the area and set the stage for required legislation to strengthen management and enforcement. Developing and promoting a unified fishery ordinance for all municipalities in the province is an example of policy reform that can translate to improved municipal fisheries management. Similarly, policy guidance on shoreline management can first evolve through provincial policy analysis.Monitoring and Evaluation
To serve its mandate in overseeing the operations of the municipalities and cities, the provincial government should monitor and evaluate how programs and projects are implemented, and their impacts on resources and communities. Presently, very few provinces in the country monitor and evaluate their constituent municipalities and cities’ development plans and programs in a systematic manner.
M&E should be conducted annually and in a participatory manner to assess LGU performance and progress of program implementation, and review the prevailing condition in the physical, social, and political environment. Feedback is needed by the province in planning interventions to improve the LGUs’ efficiency and effectiveness in the delivery of CRM as a basic service.
An M&E for CRM certification system has been developed by CRMP. This system highlights the role of the province as the lead facilitator for annual M&E of municipal and city CRM programs. In it, the province has a key role in initiating the annual M&E at the municipal or city level and in evaluating the M&E report for certification by a regional body. The system is now being piloted for the provinces of Negros Oriental, Bohol, Davao del Sur, Sarangani, and Palawan.Future directions
The evolving role of the province in CRM in the Philippines holds important potential to support the functions and effectiveness of CRM at the barangay, municipal, and city levels. But even while the involvement of provincial governments in CRM increases, technical assistance will continue to be needed to build their capacity in planning and information management. Several important trends that must be supported to encourage effective provincial contributions to CRM include:
(A print version of this story will appear in Tambuli No. 7, to be released end-November 2001)
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Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources of the Department of Agriculture and Department of the Interior and Local Government. 2001. Philippine Coastal Management Guidebook No. 2: Legal and jurisdictional framework for coastal management. Coastal Resource Management Project of the Department of the Environment and Natural Resources, Cebu City, Philippines, 170 p.
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Valle, I.S., M.C.B. Cristobal, A.T. White, and E.T. Deguit. 2000. Coastal environmental profile of the Malalag Bay Area, Davao Del Sur, Philippines. Coastal Resource Management Project, Cebu City, Philippines, 127 p.