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ASEAN
241
Mark Jaeno Duyan
A Review on Integrated River Basin
Management and Development Master
Plan of Cagayan de Oro River Basin
and building its Community Resiliency
2023
River basins appear to be important in the Philippines due to rising water
demand for residential needs, agriculture, commerce, and industry.
While the country has a total available freshwater resource of 145,900
million Cubic Meters per year based on an 80% probability for surface
water and 20,000 million Cubic Meters per year for groundwater
recharge or extraction (ASEAN, 2005), the concern for sustainable water
supply continues to be a major concern due to the continued
degradation of river basins and watersheds.
Numerous uncontrolled human economic activities and malpractices
have resulted in soil erosion and landslides, which have destroyed the
soil mantle. Flooding and excessive surface overland water flow have
exposed much fertile agricultural land to soil loss, reducing food
productivity in the basin and destroying the life support system of rivers
and lakes due to siltation, sedimentation, and improper solid waste
management. Climate Change has exacerbated the already vulnerable
environment of the river basin.
The interconnection of environmental, social, and economic elements
within river basins is recognized by ASEAN Member States. Through
coordinated efforts, these countries are trying to create and execute
successful Integrated River Basin Management initiatives. To provide a
holistic and inclusive approach to river basin management, integration
entails coordinating policies, exchanging data, and engaging people.
ASEAN member nations hope to address difficulties such as water
pollution, habitat degradation, and the effects of climate change by
strengthening transboundary cooperation and implementing
sustainable practices, while also supporting the fair and responsible use
of shared water resources. ASEAN nations are making tremendous
achievements toward creating resilience, maintaining biodiversity, and
ensuring the well-being of their communities in the face of growing
environmental problems by embracing Integrated River Basin
Management.
The Landscape
1
The depletion of our natural resources endangers the ecological balance
and sustainability of our ecosystem. Recognizing the importance of
tackling this issue, the Philippine government has chosen a proactive
approach, prioritizing the management of 18 major river basins around the
country. The Cagayan de Oro River Basin (CDORB) in Northern Mindanao
stands out as a focus area for intervention among them. Rapid
urbanization, industry, and agricultural operations have all led to water
quality degradation, biodiversity loss, and ecological disturbance in the
CDORB. In response, the government has called for a holistic management
strategy, highlighting the importance of sustainable practices,
conservation initiatives, and community involvement.
The terrain changes dramatically as you travel down. The middle large
expanses of barren grassland characterize slopes. Industrial pineapple,
corn, sugarcane, and banana plantations coexist with small plots cultivated
by impoverished farmers on the steepest slope. There are coastal
communities further down, some of which are inhabited communities, as
well as Cagayan de Oro City, which has a population of around 700,000
people.
Between 2003 and 2010, the river basin lost approximately 5,000 hectares
of woodland due to deforestation for agricultural land usage. Some of the
world's most massive agro-industrial plantations on banana and pineapple
are located in Talakag and Libona. In all, 70% of the river basin cover is
under threat of irreversible land degradation (DA-BSWM & UNDP, 2020).
This is due to unsustainable farming methods, uncontrolled use of
agricultural and forest lands, and increased climate change. Furthermore,
the National Water Resources Board (NWRB) recognized Cagayan de Oro
City's downstream area in 2007 as one of the nine water-stressed towns in
the Philippines where water is utilized extensively (Greenpeace, 2007).
The CDORB's coordinated efforts indicate a dedication to protecting not
only the local environment, but also the long-term well-being of the people
who rely on its resources. The goal is to limit the effects of deterioration
and guarantee the resilience and health of the Cagayan de Oro River Basin
for future generations via strategic planning and collaborative actions.
Abstract
2
The Cagayan de Oro River Basin (CDORB) is one of the country's
major river basins, covering an area of more than 137,383.90 hectares.
The river basin is extremely important to the inhabitants of the area,
both economically and environmentally. The area is dominated by
vast swaths of farmland and agricultural plantations, which give
livelihood options for thousands of individuals. However, the river
basin is plagued by a variety of issues, including floods, soil erosion,
and pollution, all of which are caused by unsustainable land use and
agricultural practices, inappropriate garbage disposal, and the
expansion of informal squatters along riverbanks.
Spanning the towns of Baungon, Libona, and Talakag in Bukidnon
and Cagayan de Oro in Cagayan de Oro City in Misamis Oriental, and
Iligan City in Lanao del Norte. The basin begins in the upstream parts
of the mountain ranges of Kalatungan and Kitanglad (commonly
KitKat) in Bukidnon Province. These mountain ranges are linked
culturally, historically, and biologically. Kitkat is also well-known as
the ancestral domain of three of the province's major indigenous
tribes, notably the Talaandig, Higaonon, and Bukidnon.
Mt. Kitanglad, with an elevation of 2,899 meters above sea level
(masl), is regarded as the highest point in the Philippines. Mt.
Kalatungan is believed to be the fifth highest mountain peak in the
country, at 2,287 meters above sea level. Some of the most beautiful
scenery may be seen in these two mountain ranges. The world's
ecologically significant species, home to more than 600 rare and
unique species among them are the severely endangered Philippine
Eagle and the species that rely on protection. Tarsier from the
Philippines, Rafflesia schadenbergiana is also found on Mount
Kitanglad, the world's second biggest flower.
Introduction 3
Cagayan de Oro River Basin (CDORB)
Mt. Kalatungan and Kitangad carry breathtaking scenery, both have
long been faced with environmental threats such as timber
poaching, hunting of endangered species, and the conversation of
forest boundaries to farmlands and business concessionaires. These
issues were unnoticed for many years, until Northern Mindanao was
devastated by Typhoon Washi 2011 (locally Sendong) sending severe
rains, landslides, and flash floods throughout the Cagayan de Oro
River Basin, where roughly 1,300 people were killed, and the damage
to infrastructure, agricultural, and private property is estimated to be
more than 2 billion PHP (roughly 44 million USD). After decades of
neglect, the clamoring scream of the two mountains terrifying
wakeup call for the people.
Created in 2010, Cagayan de Oro River Basin Management Council
(CDORBMC) leadership is composed of the archbishop of Cagayan
de Oro as chairman and the regional directors of the Department of
Environment and Natural Resources (DENR-X), Department of
Interior and Local Government (DILG), and Department of
Agriculture (DA), and the mayor of Cagayan de Oro City as
concurrent co-chairs. Archbishop Antonio Ledesma, SJ, served as
chairman until his retirement, and was replaced by Archbishop Jose
Canbantan, SJ, DD, formerly the bishop of Malaybalay City.
Six technical working groups comprise the CDORMBC, each of them
led by government or non-government institutions, including
academic institutions: (1) Rehabilitation (DENR-X), (2) Local
Governance (DILG-X), (3) Community Development (Safer River Life
Saver Foundation, Inc., or SRLSFI), (4) Protected for Ecological
Services (Project Management Office, or PMO), (5) Resource
Management (Environmental Science for Social Concerns, or ESSC),
and (6) Media and Communications (Public Information Agency-X).
Introduction 4
Cagayan de Oro River Basin (CDORB)
5
Analysis
EbA Management
(Ecosystem-based
Adaptation) and
Ecosystem Restoration
Payment for Ecosystem
Services (PES)
Institutionalizing
Indigenous Peoples
Governance in River
Basins
CDORB Masterplan
Operationalization
6
EbA Management (Ecosystem-based
Adaptation) and Ecosystem Restoration
Ridge-River-Reef Interconnectivity Approach. The notion of ridge-river-reef connection is very
new in the Philippines. Natural resource management strategies such as marine protected
areas (MPA), community-based coastal resource management (CBCRM), and indigenous
people-conserved zones have been developed in several local regions for around 40 years
(Pomeroy, 1995; Lowry et al., 2005; Alcala & Russ, 2006). Leaders and local communities have
only recently recognized the ridge-river-reef paradigm as a more effective management
strategy. This recognition stems from their shared experiences tackling environmental and
socioeconomic concerns in both coastal and highland settings (Canoy and Quaioit, 2011). The
ridge-river-reef model spans the whole watershed and coastal/ocean continuum, examining
linked concerns and harmonizing management techniques to improve their effectiveness and
sustainability.
Analysis
CDORBMC has a reputation for implementing system-based adaptation measures like as
rehabilitation and restoration activities by pushing for the payment of ecosystem services to local
government entities and the business sector.
The established demonstration farms for Riparian Buffer Forest Restoration are managed by the
riverbank community. With a strong collaboration between the private and public sector for the
protection, preservation, and conservation of the rivers in the city and the neighboring
municipalities near the river basin, several CSO and academe work together like, Safer River, Life
Saver Foundation Inc. (SRLSFI) of Liceo de Cagayan University has successfully engaged the three
(3) barangays (BLGU) of Cagayan de Oro, namely, Barangays Tignapoloan, Mambuaya, and Lumbia.
The Safer River Club (SRC) members of these 3 upper barangays actively participated in the
capacity building activities of the project, wherein they gained knowledge and updated with
agroforestry technology. With the proper coordination with the City through the City Local
Environment and Natural Resources Office (CLENRO) and DENR 10, it strengthened partnership
with the 22 BLGUs in riverbank barangays
7
Analysis
Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES), an alternative sustainable financial
mechanism that engages indigenous and urban communities in the stewardship of
natural resources. It is considered the ultimate act of paying back the environment
as the source of all ecological services(Quiaoit,2019).
The City of Cagayan de Oro has finally enacted the Payment for Ecosystem Services
(PES) ordinance on September 3, 2019, after lobbying for 3 years by a named as
STR3AMS (SusTainable Ridge-River-Reef Advocacy and Management Society) and
Cagayan de Oro River Basin Management Council (CDORBMC). To top it off, each
member of STR3AMS (eg., People’s Organizations and NGOs) came up with their
respective resolutions and endorsements urging the CDO City Mayor and its
legislature to approve the pending PES ordinance being proposed by CDORBMC,
SHIELD and STREAMS). This PES city ordinance is unique from other PES
ordinances in the Philippines because it did not impose add-on tariff for the
environment, like other ordinances, but instead the City shouldered the cost for
protecting its environment by allocating annually not less than Php10M. Further,
the ordinance also encourages other stakeholders to participate through the
‘adopt-a-watershed’ program for protection and restoration activities.
Payment for Ecosystem Services
One of the major corollary breakthrough from the lobbying was the agreement of
the water service provider in the city, the Cagayan de Oro Water District (COWD)
to earmark annually P4M for the restoration of the watersheds especially those
connected to their production wells in the city. Both the Cagayan de Oro City and
COWD have already incorporated the said amounts in their budget for 2020
As early as 2013, there is an existing inter-LGU Disaster Risk Reduction and
Management (DRRM) Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) of the LGUs within CDO
Riverbasin (CDORB), namely, the LGU of CDO City and the three (3) upland
municipalities of Baungon, Talakag and Libona, Province of Bukidnon. This MOA
has played a significant role in the passage of the PES Ordinance of Cagayan de
Oro City and Libona – since it formed as one of the legal bases in support of the
ordinance. The MOA stipulates among other the promotion of the PES as a
financing mechanism for the restoration of the degraded areas in the river basin,
with an end view of reducing the risk to disaster and increasing the community’s
adaptive capacity towards climate change.
Likewise earlier in April 2019, a PES ordinance in one of the uptown LGUs in the
CDORB had been enacted - in the Municipality of Libona, Province of Bukidnon
that focuses on the ecological service of preventing soil erosion that causes
mudflow downstream during flooding. Their PES is targeted to the different
private sector establishments in the area. With this, the LGU of Libona created the
Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES) through the collection of fees for the use of
ecosystem services and active partnership with the Indigenous People (IPs) and
communities. The PES ordinance imposes water levy to commercial users to fund
the watershed rehabilitation and provide incentives for local residents and upland
communities’ participation. The main objective of the PES is to ensure that all
inhabitants have a continuous supply of safe and clean water for domestic,
industrial and agricultural use and to have a sustainable funding mechanism to
support the local watershed rehabilitation and protection program.
The three areas who adopted the PES scheme namely Cagayan de Oro City,
Talakag and Libona, Bukidnon were able to design different modalities. Cagayan
de Oro City LGU allocated Php 10 million pesos and up until now the LGU is
currently drafting the Implementing Rules and Regulations(IRR). In Talakag,
Bukidnon propose the collection of prorated rates on the top of monthly water bill,
was still undergo amendments by the Municipal Council and was put on-hold due
to problems with the municipal water system. While in Libona, Bukidnon, the
collection of prorated rates on top of monthly water bill and as additional fee for
business permits, on-going implementation and currently they collected Php
435,508.00 as of October 2021.
8
Analysis
Payment for Ecosystem Services
9
A pioneering multi-stakeholder river basin body driven by the desire to prevent
episodes of flood disasters, the CDORBMC has over time taken proactive initiatives
to harmonize the efforts of government, IPs, and civil society organizations, or
CSOs (which include non-government organizations, or NGOs, and people’s
organizations, or POs) and nurture a serious commitment to protecting
watersheds in the Mts. Kitanglad and Kalatungan Protected Areas. At the same
time, it aims to restore the denuded riverine communities of Cagayan de Oro
River, a 90-km stretch that has been mired by human-induced socioeconomic
pressures associated with agricultural activities, over-settlement, industrial and
domestic use and pollution, and hydraulic mining, yet lacking in conservation and
restorative measures. As a vanguard for the environment at the core of the basin,
the CDORBMC combines government, NGO, private sector, and local community
efforts to restore a large part of the degraded areas, particularly in the Batang
watershed in the upper part of Cagayan de Oro City, with approximately 14,000 ha
to 16,000 ha identified as priorities for massive forest restoration and rehabilitation.
This alarming state of the environment is the crux of the lobbying and advocacy
for a public and private water-user payment mechanism leading toward a city
ordinance—an agenda for urgent legislation on the PES that provides a
sustainable incentive or payment system for water and ecosystems services that
benefit all.
Analysis
Institutionalizing Indigenous Peoples
Governance in River Basins
IP community trust was restored in the participatory and collaborative
engagement of public and private sectors toward rehabilitating the
degraded portions of CDORB, especially the Batang watershed, which
includes parts of the ancestral domains of the Talaandigs of Miarayon,
located at the foot Mt. Kalatungan. Archbishop Ledesma encouraged
interfaith dialogues where Catholics, Muslims, and IPs gathered
together, sharing ideas and concerns and calling for action. These
encouraged solidarity and support to the IPs in the upland, such as the
Talaandigs and Higaonons of Talakag, Baungon, Libona, and Manolo
Fortich, which constitute the northern portion of Mt. Kitanglad and Mt.
Kalatungan Range Natural Parks
As part of CDORBMC’s efforts to connect with the IP stakeholders,
Archbishop Ledesma attended regularly a Pamumulakaw annual ritual
in honor of the water spirit as practiced by the Higaonons of Cagayan
de Oro. This was held in Ugyaban riverside in barangay Besigan, one of
the tributaries of CDORB.
Institutionalizing IP governance in CDORB was facilitated by internal
and external participatory and inclusionary mechanisms and
aspirations. Internally, the strong influence of Civil Society
Organizations and the CDORMBC in the Northern Mindanao Region—
by getting more stakeholders in government and its line agencies, the
CSOs, the IPs, and the church and interfaith advocates— has promoted
serious involvement in responsible river basin and ecosystems
management while encouraging their active presence and
participation in major campaigns and advocacies defined through
consensus and the exigencies of the times.
10
Analysis
Institutionalizing Indigenous Peoples
Governance in River Basins
The operationalization will be strengthened by the recent
Executive Order 138 (Mandanas Ruling) development, which will
increase the capacity and needs of LGUs by increasing the
allotment by up to 38%, resulting in improved coordination,
planning, and implementation across all levels of government.
The Mandanas Ruling became an excellent opportunity among
the LGU’s to adopt and select programs from the CDORB
Masterplan and that includes the PES scheme.
11
Analysis
CDORB Masterplan
Operationalization
Another method is to
ensure the
implementation of PES
procedures in each LGU
as part of the CDORB
Masterplan. PES schemes
were promoted for
deployment under the
master plan's Water
Resources program.
12
Challenges
The impact of the COVID-19 outbreaks, particularly the finalization of the IRR for the
City regulations, was one of the problems of implementing various programs such as
PES in CDORB. The ordinance in Talakag, Bukidnon, is now on hold related to the
municipal water system. In Libona, Bukidnon, funds have been collected, but no
concrete activity have taken place.
The Cagayan de Oro River Basin Management Council (CDORBMC) has several
problems in fulfilling its vital role in environmental stewardship. One of the key
difficulties is the increased anthropogenic activity in the Cagayan de Oro River Basin,
including as urbanization, industry, and agricultural growth, which puts additional
strain on the environment. Balancing the requirements of an expanding population
with the need to protect and manage natural resources in a sustainable manner is a
difficult issue. Furthermore, the council is dealing with water pollution, habitat
deterioration, and the effects of climate change, all of which need comprehensive
and adaptable policies. Limited financial resources and the need for improved cross-
sector coordination are further obstacles.
13
Conclusion
The participation of various stakeholders, ranging from local communities to
governmental authorities and business sectors, is necessary but frequently
challenging. Despite these limitations, the CDORBMC's dedication to supporting
sustainable development and protecting the river basin's biological integrity
demonstrates tenacity and resolve to overcome barriers for the sake of present and
future generations.
Various restoration modalities and approaches used by local private players included
participating in the Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES) initiative to rehabilitate
and reforest selected high-risk key regions. It is critical to ask for monetary support,
particularly from business sectors, and to foster collaborative actions that integrate
Indigenous Peoples within CDORB areas.
The Cagayan de Oro River Basin Management Council (CDORBMC) recognized the
importance of ecosystem services to human well-being, but they also recognized the
need for funds to ensure the flow of services and that PES can be a driving
mechanism for environmental protection, rehabilitation, and conservation. Most
significantly, it demonstrates that, despite the range of interests among the many
participants, whether in the LGU or the CSO coalition, if there is a shared common
goal for the environment, all are open, dedicated, and prepared to work together
because they recognize their interdependence.
References
Canoy, E.S., Quiaoit, H. A. R. (2011). Ridge to Reef in the Philippines: A Showcase of Nine
Emerging and Merging Initiatives. Xavier University – Xavier University Press. Retrieved
link on December 9, 2023.
Cagayan de Oro River Basin Management Council (CDORBMC) (2018). Supporting the
proposed ordinance on PES. SunStar. Retrieved link on December 8, 2023
Center for Environmental Studies and Management, Inc. (CESM). Formulation of an
Integrated River Basin Management and Development Master Plan for Cagayan de Oro
River Basin. 2014 from DENR. Retrieved link on December 8, 2023.
Emata, C.H.B. and Sinogba, E. (2016). Payment for ecosystem services connects urban
community with indigenous people. Case study of the ILC Database of Good Practices.
Rome: ILC. Retrieved link on December 8, 2023
Integrated Natural Resources and Environment Management (INREM) (2023). UPLB-
INREM holds stakeholder consultation on PES in Bukidnon and Cagayan de Oro.
Retrieved link on December 8, 2023.
Tan, M. P. (2017). Sedimentation dynamics of the Cagayan de Oro river catchment and
the implications for its coastal marine environments (Doctor of Philosophy Science).
University of Notre Dame Australia. Retrieved link on December 8, 2023.
Tan, R.P., Obedencio, M. Serenas, C. (2016). Estimating Household Benefits from the
Cagayan de Oro River Basin Ecosystem. Ateneo de Manila University. Retrieved link on
December 8, 2023
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) (2022). Climate adaptation
through ‘payment for ecosystem services’. Retrieved link on December 8, 2023.
Kitanglad Integrated NGO’s (KIN) (2021). Capturing Indigenous Perspectives in
Ecosystems Based Adaptation Inside Ancestral Domains. Talamdan. Retrieved link on
December 8, 2023
Kitanglad Integrated NGO’s (KIN) (2021). General Concept of the River Basin (Tulugan)
Management Structure. Talamdan. Retrieved link on December 8, 2023
Kitanglad Integrated NGO’s (KIN) (2020). New Pangimbatasan Protocol Handbook.
Retrieved link on December 8, 2023.
14
15
MARK JAENO DUYAN
mpduyan@up.edu.ph
GCAS
UPOU
ASEAN 241
Environmental Issues in ASEAN

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A Review on Integrated River Basin Management and Development Master Plan of Cagayan de Oro River Basin and building its Community Resiliency

  • 1. ASEAN 241 Mark Jaeno Duyan A Review on Integrated River Basin Management and Development Master Plan of Cagayan de Oro River Basin and building its Community Resiliency 2023
  • 2. River basins appear to be important in the Philippines due to rising water demand for residential needs, agriculture, commerce, and industry. While the country has a total available freshwater resource of 145,900 million Cubic Meters per year based on an 80% probability for surface water and 20,000 million Cubic Meters per year for groundwater recharge or extraction (ASEAN, 2005), the concern for sustainable water supply continues to be a major concern due to the continued degradation of river basins and watersheds. Numerous uncontrolled human economic activities and malpractices have resulted in soil erosion and landslides, which have destroyed the soil mantle. Flooding and excessive surface overland water flow have exposed much fertile agricultural land to soil loss, reducing food productivity in the basin and destroying the life support system of rivers and lakes due to siltation, sedimentation, and improper solid waste management. Climate Change has exacerbated the already vulnerable environment of the river basin. The interconnection of environmental, social, and economic elements within river basins is recognized by ASEAN Member States. Through coordinated efforts, these countries are trying to create and execute successful Integrated River Basin Management initiatives. To provide a holistic and inclusive approach to river basin management, integration entails coordinating policies, exchanging data, and engaging people. ASEAN member nations hope to address difficulties such as water pollution, habitat degradation, and the effects of climate change by strengthening transboundary cooperation and implementing sustainable practices, while also supporting the fair and responsible use of shared water resources. ASEAN nations are making tremendous achievements toward creating resilience, maintaining biodiversity, and ensuring the well-being of their communities in the face of growing environmental problems by embracing Integrated River Basin Management. The Landscape 1
  • 3. The depletion of our natural resources endangers the ecological balance and sustainability of our ecosystem. Recognizing the importance of tackling this issue, the Philippine government has chosen a proactive approach, prioritizing the management of 18 major river basins around the country. The Cagayan de Oro River Basin (CDORB) in Northern Mindanao stands out as a focus area for intervention among them. Rapid urbanization, industry, and agricultural operations have all led to water quality degradation, biodiversity loss, and ecological disturbance in the CDORB. In response, the government has called for a holistic management strategy, highlighting the importance of sustainable practices, conservation initiatives, and community involvement. The terrain changes dramatically as you travel down. The middle large expanses of barren grassland characterize slopes. Industrial pineapple, corn, sugarcane, and banana plantations coexist with small plots cultivated by impoverished farmers on the steepest slope. There are coastal communities further down, some of which are inhabited communities, as well as Cagayan de Oro City, which has a population of around 700,000 people. Between 2003 and 2010, the river basin lost approximately 5,000 hectares of woodland due to deforestation for agricultural land usage. Some of the world's most massive agro-industrial plantations on banana and pineapple are located in Talakag and Libona. In all, 70% of the river basin cover is under threat of irreversible land degradation (DA-BSWM & UNDP, 2020). This is due to unsustainable farming methods, uncontrolled use of agricultural and forest lands, and increased climate change. Furthermore, the National Water Resources Board (NWRB) recognized Cagayan de Oro City's downstream area in 2007 as one of the nine water-stressed towns in the Philippines where water is utilized extensively (Greenpeace, 2007). The CDORB's coordinated efforts indicate a dedication to protecting not only the local environment, but also the long-term well-being of the people who rely on its resources. The goal is to limit the effects of deterioration and guarantee the resilience and health of the Cagayan de Oro River Basin for future generations via strategic planning and collaborative actions. Abstract 2
  • 4. The Cagayan de Oro River Basin (CDORB) is one of the country's major river basins, covering an area of more than 137,383.90 hectares. The river basin is extremely important to the inhabitants of the area, both economically and environmentally. The area is dominated by vast swaths of farmland and agricultural plantations, which give livelihood options for thousands of individuals. However, the river basin is plagued by a variety of issues, including floods, soil erosion, and pollution, all of which are caused by unsustainable land use and agricultural practices, inappropriate garbage disposal, and the expansion of informal squatters along riverbanks. Spanning the towns of Baungon, Libona, and Talakag in Bukidnon and Cagayan de Oro in Cagayan de Oro City in Misamis Oriental, and Iligan City in Lanao del Norte. The basin begins in the upstream parts of the mountain ranges of Kalatungan and Kitanglad (commonly KitKat) in Bukidnon Province. These mountain ranges are linked culturally, historically, and biologically. Kitkat is also well-known as the ancestral domain of three of the province's major indigenous tribes, notably the Talaandig, Higaonon, and Bukidnon. Mt. Kitanglad, with an elevation of 2,899 meters above sea level (masl), is regarded as the highest point in the Philippines. Mt. Kalatungan is believed to be the fifth highest mountain peak in the country, at 2,287 meters above sea level. Some of the most beautiful scenery may be seen in these two mountain ranges. The world's ecologically significant species, home to more than 600 rare and unique species among them are the severely endangered Philippine Eagle and the species that rely on protection. Tarsier from the Philippines, Rafflesia schadenbergiana is also found on Mount Kitanglad, the world's second biggest flower. Introduction 3 Cagayan de Oro River Basin (CDORB)
  • 5. Mt. Kalatungan and Kitangad carry breathtaking scenery, both have long been faced with environmental threats such as timber poaching, hunting of endangered species, and the conversation of forest boundaries to farmlands and business concessionaires. These issues were unnoticed for many years, until Northern Mindanao was devastated by Typhoon Washi 2011 (locally Sendong) sending severe rains, landslides, and flash floods throughout the Cagayan de Oro River Basin, where roughly 1,300 people were killed, and the damage to infrastructure, agricultural, and private property is estimated to be more than 2 billion PHP (roughly 44 million USD). After decades of neglect, the clamoring scream of the two mountains terrifying wakeup call for the people. Created in 2010, Cagayan de Oro River Basin Management Council (CDORBMC) leadership is composed of the archbishop of Cagayan de Oro as chairman and the regional directors of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR-X), Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), and Department of Agriculture (DA), and the mayor of Cagayan de Oro City as concurrent co-chairs. Archbishop Antonio Ledesma, SJ, served as chairman until his retirement, and was replaced by Archbishop Jose Canbantan, SJ, DD, formerly the bishop of Malaybalay City. Six technical working groups comprise the CDORMBC, each of them led by government or non-government institutions, including academic institutions: (1) Rehabilitation (DENR-X), (2) Local Governance (DILG-X), (3) Community Development (Safer River Life Saver Foundation, Inc., or SRLSFI), (4) Protected for Ecological Services (Project Management Office, or PMO), (5) Resource Management (Environmental Science for Social Concerns, or ESSC), and (6) Media and Communications (Public Information Agency-X). Introduction 4 Cagayan de Oro River Basin (CDORB)
  • 6. 5 Analysis EbA Management (Ecosystem-based Adaptation) and Ecosystem Restoration Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES) Institutionalizing Indigenous Peoples Governance in River Basins CDORB Masterplan Operationalization
  • 7. 6 EbA Management (Ecosystem-based Adaptation) and Ecosystem Restoration Ridge-River-Reef Interconnectivity Approach. The notion of ridge-river-reef connection is very new in the Philippines. Natural resource management strategies such as marine protected areas (MPA), community-based coastal resource management (CBCRM), and indigenous people-conserved zones have been developed in several local regions for around 40 years (Pomeroy, 1995; Lowry et al., 2005; Alcala & Russ, 2006). Leaders and local communities have only recently recognized the ridge-river-reef paradigm as a more effective management strategy. This recognition stems from their shared experiences tackling environmental and socioeconomic concerns in both coastal and highland settings (Canoy and Quaioit, 2011). The ridge-river-reef model spans the whole watershed and coastal/ocean continuum, examining linked concerns and harmonizing management techniques to improve their effectiveness and sustainability. Analysis CDORBMC has a reputation for implementing system-based adaptation measures like as rehabilitation and restoration activities by pushing for the payment of ecosystem services to local government entities and the business sector. The established demonstration farms for Riparian Buffer Forest Restoration are managed by the riverbank community. With a strong collaboration between the private and public sector for the protection, preservation, and conservation of the rivers in the city and the neighboring municipalities near the river basin, several CSO and academe work together like, Safer River, Life Saver Foundation Inc. (SRLSFI) of Liceo de Cagayan University has successfully engaged the three (3) barangays (BLGU) of Cagayan de Oro, namely, Barangays Tignapoloan, Mambuaya, and Lumbia. The Safer River Club (SRC) members of these 3 upper barangays actively participated in the capacity building activities of the project, wherein they gained knowledge and updated with agroforestry technology. With the proper coordination with the City through the City Local Environment and Natural Resources Office (CLENRO) and DENR 10, it strengthened partnership with the 22 BLGUs in riverbank barangays
  • 8. 7 Analysis Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES), an alternative sustainable financial mechanism that engages indigenous and urban communities in the stewardship of natural resources. It is considered the ultimate act of paying back the environment as the source of all ecological services(Quiaoit,2019). The City of Cagayan de Oro has finally enacted the Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES) ordinance on September 3, 2019, after lobbying for 3 years by a named as STR3AMS (SusTainable Ridge-River-Reef Advocacy and Management Society) and Cagayan de Oro River Basin Management Council (CDORBMC). To top it off, each member of STR3AMS (eg., People’s Organizations and NGOs) came up with their respective resolutions and endorsements urging the CDO City Mayor and its legislature to approve the pending PES ordinance being proposed by CDORBMC, SHIELD and STREAMS). This PES city ordinance is unique from other PES ordinances in the Philippines because it did not impose add-on tariff for the environment, like other ordinances, but instead the City shouldered the cost for protecting its environment by allocating annually not less than Php10M. Further, the ordinance also encourages other stakeholders to participate through the ‘adopt-a-watershed’ program for protection and restoration activities. Payment for Ecosystem Services
  • 9. One of the major corollary breakthrough from the lobbying was the agreement of the water service provider in the city, the Cagayan de Oro Water District (COWD) to earmark annually P4M for the restoration of the watersheds especially those connected to their production wells in the city. Both the Cagayan de Oro City and COWD have already incorporated the said amounts in their budget for 2020 As early as 2013, there is an existing inter-LGU Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DRRM) Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) of the LGUs within CDO Riverbasin (CDORB), namely, the LGU of CDO City and the three (3) upland municipalities of Baungon, Talakag and Libona, Province of Bukidnon. This MOA has played a significant role in the passage of the PES Ordinance of Cagayan de Oro City and Libona – since it formed as one of the legal bases in support of the ordinance. The MOA stipulates among other the promotion of the PES as a financing mechanism for the restoration of the degraded areas in the river basin, with an end view of reducing the risk to disaster and increasing the community’s adaptive capacity towards climate change. Likewise earlier in April 2019, a PES ordinance in one of the uptown LGUs in the CDORB had been enacted - in the Municipality of Libona, Province of Bukidnon that focuses on the ecological service of preventing soil erosion that causes mudflow downstream during flooding. Their PES is targeted to the different private sector establishments in the area. With this, the LGU of Libona created the Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES) through the collection of fees for the use of ecosystem services and active partnership with the Indigenous People (IPs) and communities. The PES ordinance imposes water levy to commercial users to fund the watershed rehabilitation and provide incentives for local residents and upland communities’ participation. The main objective of the PES is to ensure that all inhabitants have a continuous supply of safe and clean water for domestic, industrial and agricultural use and to have a sustainable funding mechanism to support the local watershed rehabilitation and protection program. The three areas who adopted the PES scheme namely Cagayan de Oro City, Talakag and Libona, Bukidnon were able to design different modalities. Cagayan de Oro City LGU allocated Php 10 million pesos and up until now the LGU is currently drafting the Implementing Rules and Regulations(IRR). In Talakag, Bukidnon propose the collection of prorated rates on the top of monthly water bill, was still undergo amendments by the Municipal Council and was put on-hold due to problems with the municipal water system. While in Libona, Bukidnon, the collection of prorated rates on top of monthly water bill and as additional fee for business permits, on-going implementation and currently they collected Php 435,508.00 as of October 2021. 8 Analysis Payment for Ecosystem Services
  • 10. 9 A pioneering multi-stakeholder river basin body driven by the desire to prevent episodes of flood disasters, the CDORBMC has over time taken proactive initiatives to harmonize the efforts of government, IPs, and civil society organizations, or CSOs (which include non-government organizations, or NGOs, and people’s organizations, or POs) and nurture a serious commitment to protecting watersheds in the Mts. Kitanglad and Kalatungan Protected Areas. At the same time, it aims to restore the denuded riverine communities of Cagayan de Oro River, a 90-km stretch that has been mired by human-induced socioeconomic pressures associated with agricultural activities, over-settlement, industrial and domestic use and pollution, and hydraulic mining, yet lacking in conservation and restorative measures. As a vanguard for the environment at the core of the basin, the CDORBMC combines government, NGO, private sector, and local community efforts to restore a large part of the degraded areas, particularly in the Batang watershed in the upper part of Cagayan de Oro City, with approximately 14,000 ha to 16,000 ha identified as priorities for massive forest restoration and rehabilitation. This alarming state of the environment is the crux of the lobbying and advocacy for a public and private water-user payment mechanism leading toward a city ordinance—an agenda for urgent legislation on the PES that provides a sustainable incentive or payment system for water and ecosystems services that benefit all. Analysis Institutionalizing Indigenous Peoples Governance in River Basins
  • 11. IP community trust was restored in the participatory and collaborative engagement of public and private sectors toward rehabilitating the degraded portions of CDORB, especially the Batang watershed, which includes parts of the ancestral domains of the Talaandigs of Miarayon, located at the foot Mt. Kalatungan. Archbishop Ledesma encouraged interfaith dialogues where Catholics, Muslims, and IPs gathered together, sharing ideas and concerns and calling for action. These encouraged solidarity and support to the IPs in the upland, such as the Talaandigs and Higaonons of Talakag, Baungon, Libona, and Manolo Fortich, which constitute the northern portion of Mt. Kitanglad and Mt. Kalatungan Range Natural Parks As part of CDORBMC’s efforts to connect with the IP stakeholders, Archbishop Ledesma attended regularly a Pamumulakaw annual ritual in honor of the water spirit as practiced by the Higaonons of Cagayan de Oro. This was held in Ugyaban riverside in barangay Besigan, one of the tributaries of CDORB. Institutionalizing IP governance in CDORB was facilitated by internal and external participatory and inclusionary mechanisms and aspirations. Internally, the strong influence of Civil Society Organizations and the CDORMBC in the Northern Mindanao Region— by getting more stakeholders in government and its line agencies, the CSOs, the IPs, and the church and interfaith advocates— has promoted serious involvement in responsible river basin and ecosystems management while encouraging their active presence and participation in major campaigns and advocacies defined through consensus and the exigencies of the times. 10 Analysis Institutionalizing Indigenous Peoples Governance in River Basins
  • 12. The operationalization will be strengthened by the recent Executive Order 138 (Mandanas Ruling) development, which will increase the capacity and needs of LGUs by increasing the allotment by up to 38%, resulting in improved coordination, planning, and implementation across all levels of government. The Mandanas Ruling became an excellent opportunity among the LGU’s to adopt and select programs from the CDORB Masterplan and that includes the PES scheme. 11 Analysis CDORB Masterplan Operationalization Another method is to ensure the implementation of PES procedures in each LGU as part of the CDORB Masterplan. PES schemes were promoted for deployment under the master plan's Water Resources program.
  • 13. 12 Challenges The impact of the COVID-19 outbreaks, particularly the finalization of the IRR for the City regulations, was one of the problems of implementing various programs such as PES in CDORB. The ordinance in Talakag, Bukidnon, is now on hold related to the municipal water system. In Libona, Bukidnon, funds have been collected, but no concrete activity have taken place. The Cagayan de Oro River Basin Management Council (CDORBMC) has several problems in fulfilling its vital role in environmental stewardship. One of the key difficulties is the increased anthropogenic activity in the Cagayan de Oro River Basin, including as urbanization, industry, and agricultural growth, which puts additional strain on the environment. Balancing the requirements of an expanding population with the need to protect and manage natural resources in a sustainable manner is a difficult issue. Furthermore, the council is dealing with water pollution, habitat deterioration, and the effects of climate change, all of which need comprehensive and adaptable policies. Limited financial resources and the need for improved cross- sector coordination are further obstacles.
  • 14. 13 Conclusion The participation of various stakeholders, ranging from local communities to governmental authorities and business sectors, is necessary but frequently challenging. Despite these limitations, the CDORBMC's dedication to supporting sustainable development and protecting the river basin's biological integrity demonstrates tenacity and resolve to overcome barriers for the sake of present and future generations. Various restoration modalities and approaches used by local private players included participating in the Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES) initiative to rehabilitate and reforest selected high-risk key regions. It is critical to ask for monetary support, particularly from business sectors, and to foster collaborative actions that integrate Indigenous Peoples within CDORB areas. The Cagayan de Oro River Basin Management Council (CDORBMC) recognized the importance of ecosystem services to human well-being, but they also recognized the need for funds to ensure the flow of services and that PES can be a driving mechanism for environmental protection, rehabilitation, and conservation. Most significantly, it demonstrates that, despite the range of interests among the many participants, whether in the LGU or the CSO coalition, if there is a shared common goal for the environment, all are open, dedicated, and prepared to work together because they recognize their interdependence.
  • 15. References Canoy, E.S., Quiaoit, H. A. R. (2011). Ridge to Reef in the Philippines: A Showcase of Nine Emerging and Merging Initiatives. Xavier University – Xavier University Press. Retrieved link on December 9, 2023. Cagayan de Oro River Basin Management Council (CDORBMC) (2018). Supporting the proposed ordinance on PES. SunStar. Retrieved link on December 8, 2023 Center for Environmental Studies and Management, Inc. (CESM). Formulation of an Integrated River Basin Management and Development Master Plan for Cagayan de Oro River Basin. 2014 from DENR. Retrieved link on December 8, 2023. Emata, C.H.B. and Sinogba, E. (2016). Payment for ecosystem services connects urban community with indigenous people. Case study of the ILC Database of Good Practices. Rome: ILC. Retrieved link on December 8, 2023 Integrated Natural Resources and Environment Management (INREM) (2023). UPLB- INREM holds stakeholder consultation on PES in Bukidnon and Cagayan de Oro. Retrieved link on December 8, 2023. Tan, M. P. (2017). Sedimentation dynamics of the Cagayan de Oro river catchment and the implications for its coastal marine environments (Doctor of Philosophy Science). University of Notre Dame Australia. Retrieved link on December 8, 2023. Tan, R.P., Obedencio, M. Serenas, C. (2016). Estimating Household Benefits from the Cagayan de Oro River Basin Ecosystem. Ateneo de Manila University. Retrieved link on December 8, 2023 The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) (2022). Climate adaptation through ‘payment for ecosystem services’. Retrieved link on December 8, 2023. Kitanglad Integrated NGO’s (KIN) (2021). Capturing Indigenous Perspectives in Ecosystems Based Adaptation Inside Ancestral Domains. Talamdan. Retrieved link on December 8, 2023 Kitanglad Integrated NGO’s (KIN) (2021). General Concept of the River Basin (Tulugan) Management Structure. Talamdan. Retrieved link on December 8, 2023 Kitanglad Integrated NGO’s (KIN) (2020). New Pangimbatasan Protocol Handbook. Retrieved link on December 8, 2023. 14
  • 16. 15 MARK JAENO DUYAN mpduyan@up.edu.ph GCAS UPOU ASEAN 241 Environmental Issues in ASEAN