ADB project to capacitate DENR, Bukidnon LGUs, and communities on watershed and rural infrastructure management

An Asian Development Bank (ADB) Technical Assistance (TA) project is expected to capacitate local government units (LGUs) and communities in the province of Bukidnon in Southern Philippines as well as the local environment personnel on sustainable watershed management (SWM) and rural infrastructure management (RIM) practices.

ADB has awarded a consulting contract to PRIMEX in association with training firm, Associated Resources for Management and Development (ARMDEV), in implementing TA 7716-PHI: Decentralized Framework for Sustainable Natural Resources and Rural Infrastructure Management, Philippines.

TA 7716-PHI will support capacity development in the regional and provincial Department of the Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) offices, participating LGUs, and communities in Bukidnon with the aim of increasing rural household income based on natural resources management (NRM).

Watersheds provide essential products and services that benefit society, and are considered ‘water supply support systems’ that provide services to downstream communities such as irrigation water users, domestic water consumers, hydroelectric companies, or a combination of these users. These provide impera tives for watersheds to be managed sustainably.

The project is premised on sustainable watershed management’s multi-dimensional characteristics requ iring various forms of resources or capital.

In the last three decades, there has been a shift in the management of natural resources, including watersheds, in the Philippines –from highly centralized to fully decentralized, in compliance with the provisions of the Local Government Code (LGC) of 1991, as reflected in changes in government policies from central government-driven to LGU-led. In the forestry sector, DENR Memorandum Circular No. 2008-05 dated 22 October 2008 mandated the adoption of ecosystem or integrated watershed management approach in the management of all vital watersheds in the country.

The Project covers the following six Bukidnon upper river basin (URB) watersheds: (i) Kitanglad-Manupali; (ii) Talakag; (iii) Sumilao Manolo Fortich – Malitubog; (iv) Malaybalay-Impasugon; (v) Baungon-Libona; and (vi) Kalatungan-Muleta.

The province of Bukidnon was selected as the project area for this TA because of its strong local government support for natural resource management and conservation and its successful management of protected areas, exemplified by the Mt. Kitanglad Range Natural Park (MKRNP), which is considered the most successfully managed protected area in the Philippines. The province also has a long history of supporting NRM initiatives.

The PRIMEX-ARMDEV Team is composed of seven experts expected to complete the project in the next 27 months. They are: Dr. Manuel L. Bonita, Team Leader/Watershed Management Specialist; Ms. Elda M. Montera, Capacity Building Specialist; Engr. Clovis Ike J. Payumo, Rural Infrastructure O&M Specialist; Dr. Carolyn I. Sobritchea, Gender and Indigenous People Specialist; Dr. Rafael P. Creencia, Agroforestry/Small and Medium Enterprise Specialist; Mr. Feliciano T. Opena, GIS Specialist; and Ms. Rosa T. Perez, Climate Change Specialist.

The Team is supported by a TA Support Office headed by Mr. Leo R. Pura, PRIMEX Senior Manager for Technical Services, as Project Administration Coordinator; Mr. Donald Loyloy, Bukidnon Office Manager; and Ms. Joy Ortiz, Project Assistant. PRIMEX President and CEO Elvira C. Ablaza is TA Project Director and Mr. Guillermo L. Morales, PRIMEX Executive Vice President, is Deputy Project Director.