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The Online Magazine for Sustainable Seas
October, 2001 Vol.4 No.10

Philippine Coastal Resource Management:
Bohol, Masbate and Davao del Sur Forge Ahead

Provinces in the Philippines play a key role as technical assistance providers to municipalities and cities in coastal resource management. Three provinces model the way.

By Alexis C. Yambao, CRM Planning Specialist;
Evelyn T. Deguit, Community Development Advisor;
and Alan T. White, Deputy Chief of Party; Coastal Resource Management Project






ith the mandate given to them by the Local Government Code of 1991 and the Philippine Fisheries Code of 1998, local government units (LGUs) in the Philippines now have greater power and responsibility in the conservation, protection, and management of all coastal and marine resources, including fisheries. Municipalities and cities, in particular, are the primary LGUs responsible for CRM, but provinces also have key roles and are responsible for adopting appropriate measures to protect coastal and marine resources within their territorial jurisdiction (Courtney and White 2000).

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).

Table 1. Specific roles and functions of the province in CRM.


  •  Formulate socioeconomic development plans, including CRM plan 


  • Approve ordinances which help ensure the efficient and effective delivery of CRM (including pollution control) as a basic service
  • Review ordinances enacted by municipal/city government


  • Issue permit and collect fees for guano collection
  • Issue permit to extract sand, gravel, and other quarry resources


  • Enforce all laws and ordinances relating to pollution and environmental protection
  • Protect the environment and impose appropriate penalties for the following acts:

    o Dynamite fishing and other forms of destructive fishing
    o Illegal logging and smuggling of logs
    o Smuggling of natural resource products and endangered species
    o Slash-and-burn farming
    o Other activities which will result in pollution, acceleration of eutrophication of rivers and lakes, or ecological imbalance

  • Prescribe criminal penalty prescribed under the Fisheries Code
  • Enforce forestry laws in community-based forestry areas
  • Enforce small-scale mining laws, subject to policies of the DENR
  • Verify and adjudicate conflicts on guano collection and on sand, gravel, and other quarry resources

Taxation and Revenue Generation

  • Impose taxes on sand, gravel, and other quarry resources
  • Define the geographic criteria for application of LGU taxes and levies based on the location of the transaction or the operation branch, outlet, or office
  • Formulate special levies on real property and the procedure for allocating proceeds
  • Receive share from the internal revenue allotment (IRA)
  • Receive share of proceeds from government agencies or government-owned and controlled corporations

Extension/Technical Assistance

  • Provide agricultural extension and on-site services and facilities, which include the organization of farmers and fishers cooperatives and other collective organizations
  • Integrate operations for agricultural extension services and undertake annual evaluation of all municipal extension programs          

Intergovernmental Relations

  • Group together, consolidate, or coordinate efforts, services, and resources for commonly beneficial purposes
  • Group together and coordinate with each other to achieve the objectives of integrated fishery resource management
  • Share with the national government the responsibility in the management and maintenance of ecological balance within the territorial jurisdiction

Relations with People’s Organizations and Nongovernment Organizations

  • Promote the establishment and operation of POs and NGOs
  • Enter into joint ventures and other cooperative arrangements with POs and NGOs
  • Develop local enterprises and provide assistance to POs and NGOs

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.

Figure 1. The provinces of Bohol, Masbate, and Davao del Sur.

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.

The Bohol Provincial Capitol is the home of the Bohol
Environmental Management Office, a strong proponent
of CRM in the province.

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).

Table 2. Responsibilities of Bohol Environmental Management Office on CRM.
  •  Development of provincial framework and formulation of plans and programs;
  •  Provision of technical assistance to municipalities and city on planning, implementation, and monitoring of programs and projects;
  •  Coordination of province-led activities, including information, education and communication and other social mobilization activities;
  •  Establishment of linkages with national and international organizations for purposes of fund-sourcing, research and development, and technical assistance;
  •  Research and development, including information and database management; and
  •  Provision of technical advice to the Governor and the Sangguniang Panlalawigan

In 1999, to support the implementation of the code with respect to CRM, the Sangguniang Panlalawigan adopted a resolution creating a Sub-Committee on Marine and Coastal Resources and a CRM Special Project Unit. In the same year, the DENR, Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (DA-BFAR), and the province signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA), which defined their roles in CRM.  This MOA also served as a “road map” for CRMP’s technical assistance at the provincial level. As provided in the MOA, CRMP shifted the focus of its technical assistance towards operationalizing the CRM Section through staff and resources within the BEMO. The main goal was to leave the BEMO CRM Section with the “institutional memory” of CRMP technical assistance and enable it to take over CRMP’s role as technical assistance provider to Bohol LGUs.

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 began work in Bohol in 1996 in the five northwestern municipalities of Calape, Tubigon, Clarin, Inabanga, and Buenavista. Here, the Project conducted PCRA, ICM and CRM training, mangrove management, sanctuary management, enterprise development, and planning, in partnership with the province through BEMO, other provincial government offices, and NGOs.

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.

Masbate Provincial Capitol.

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.

Table 3. Masbate’s budget allocation for CRM in 2001.


Name of Project: Environment Management Program for Year 2001
Total Budget:   PhP 2.5 million
ource of Fund: 20 percent Economic Development Fund
Budget (Php)
Development and installation of CRM monitoring and evaluation (provincial/municipal) and certification and incentive program for municipalities
Conduct of PCRA
Meetings and conferences
Post-training technical assistance and other services to municipalities: Follow-up activities related to establishment of MPA; mangrove management; fisheries management/licensing; and other CRM interventions
Reproduction of information, education, and communication materials
Trainings (MPA establishment and enforcement; coastal tourism; shoreline development; monitoring and evaluation; and MCD)
Conduct of Provincial Environment Summit
Biodiversity mapping
Purchase of diving paraphernalia
Activities to strengthen Municipal Fisheries and Aquatic Resource Management Councils

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.

Trust exercise: Teambuilding, Provincial Office on
Environment and Natural Resources Management, Masbate.

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).

The new Davao del Sur Provincial Capitol is the home of
first province-wide CRM plan in the country.

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.

Figure 2. Inter-agency coordinating structure for Davao del Sur
(Click image to enlarge)..

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.

Figure 3. Davao del Sur Provincial CRM implementation structure
(Click image to enlarge)..

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

The Bohol experience highlights the importance of strengthening the legal arrangements and institutional development at the provincial level to institutionalize CRM. The legislation of the environment code clarified the policy framework and set the management direction of the province for CRM. The creation of BEMO ensures that the framework and direction of the province are translated into concrete programs. In BEMO, the province has a “one stop shop” that has systematized and standardized CRM implementation methodologies and processes, thus allowing for lessons to be drawn and shared. Although the management of municipal waters is not a direct mandate of the province, the Bohol experience shows that, by implementing the specific powers and functions delegated to the province by national laws, such as legislation and enforcement of measures that protect the environment, the province could provide needed technical assistance and capacitate the municipalities and cities in CRM. CRM in Bohol and its permanence at the provincial level would have not been realized had the province not installed the necessary legal and institutional arrangements with budget support.

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.

The sustainability of CRM at the local government level cannot be attained simply by strengthening municipalities and cities – it is also necessary to capacitate provinces in providing technical assistance to municipalities and cities. To ensure sustainability of CRM at the provincial level, the following elements must be in place:

  • Good programs and policies. These can be translated in the form of framework plans, environment codes and other ordinances. Stakeholder participation in the development of plans and formulation of policies should be encouraged to ensure a high level of support and compliance.
  • Good governance and commitment to sustainability. This should be supported by employing and nurturing dedicated and trained technical staff, allocating increasing budget for CRM, and defining roles and responsibilities of all institutions, organizations, and individuals involved in implementing programs and policies.
  • Financial resources to support good programs and policies, good governance, and commitment to sustainability. Allocating budget for personnel services, maintenance and other operating expenses, and equipment is crucial in CRM.
  • Non-financial resources such as political and community support, human resources, transparency, and good reputation are prerequisites for success.
  • Inter-agency collaboration (provincial TWG, partnership with NGAs, NGOs, academe).  Implementing a CRM program at the provincial level requires the participation of different sectors and agencies to address a wide array of issues related to CRM, e.g., pollution, shoreline development, law enforcement, decline in fishery resources, and more. To strengthen inter-agency collaboration, a clear coordinating structure that clarifies roles and responsibilities, and identifies a lead coordinating office should be established.

Database and Information Management
Accurate information is vital in planning and managing coastal resource use. Information on the status of habitats, fisheries, and management interventions is generated at the municipal and barangay levels. Most LGUs do not have the capacity to maintain accurate databases since they lack systems for collecting and analyzing data and for managing information.  Provinces can provide this important support and service.

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:
  • Test and adopt CRM certification system, and use this as incentive and basis for prioritizing allocation of funding support to municipalities seriously implementing CRM programs;
  • Establish CRM databases at the provincial level that utilize the MCD as designed by CRMP;
  • Institutionalize CRM through CRM offices with budget and personnel;
  • Assist municipalities in delineating municipal waters; and
  • Support CRM planning and implementation at the municipal and city levels by providing guidelines, policies, framework plans, unified ordinances, or other guidance that assists the local level implementation of CRM

(A print version of this story will appear in Tambuli No. 7, to be released end-November 2001)


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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.


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