June 23, 2021
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources has pressed local governments to co-invest in the beautiful Manila Bay-Bataan restoration using their increased income arising from the Mandanas ruling.as this investment will churn back into sustainable jobs and ecosystems services.
Not just a fancy idea, but investing in the restoration of the Manila Bay to Bataan coastal areas will bring back to life key biodiversity areas (KBA) that will boomerang into sustained livelihood for people.
A key result should be the restoration and sustainability of the windowpane oyster (capiz) industry in Samal, Bataan, according to DENR Undersecretary Analiza Teh.
“Bagac and Morong (Bataan) abound with numerous fish species. And the locally known capiz or windowpane oyster shells used to be abundant in Manila Bay. It still can be found along the coast of Samal,” said Teh during the Manila Bay-Bataan Coastal Strategy project workshop.
Once a flourishing industry, the windowpane oyster shell industry in Samal declined. This must have been due to the receding supply of the oyster shell as a result of illegal and destructive fishing.
Given an increased investment of local government units (LGUs) all over Manila and Bataan into the coastal areas’ restoration, this will result not only in natural resources preservation but economic benefits to people.
“The Mandanas ruling will increase internal revenue allotment (IRA) of LGUs by 56%. So there’s an opportunity for us to engage the LGUs to invest more on natural resources protection. We can convince LGUs to undertake co-management of Protected Areas with the community,” said Teh.
“Sustainable land management in Bataan promises long term benefits to the ecosystem and the economy,” Teh said during the project’s inception workshop.
Similarly, Teh said the private sector should be persuaded to also invest in this project.
“There is also an opportunity for us to rally the private sector to invest. :Let’s see how we can provide incentives to them so they can participate actively not only as part of CSR (corporate social responsibility) but investment on natural resources protection,” she said.
Teh noted that on top of livelihood benefits, fisheries production, and tourism (as Bataan has pristine beaches from Morong, Bagac up to Subic Bay), these natural resources automatically become Filipino people’s health protection.
“Natural resources are our vaccine to any health crisis. We need to show how we can contribute to our economic recovery and to helping solve the pandemic,” she said.
The Manila Bay-Bataan Coastal Strategy project is a comprehensive five-year project financed by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
It covers three phases: Phase 1—Cleanup and Water Quality Improvement; Phase 2—Rehabilitation and Resettlement; and Phase 3-Education and Sustainment.
Budget is $2.7 million from GEF (Global Environment Facility) and $15.5 million co-financing from the Philippine government.
The project will train provincial government people in Sustainable Land Management (SLM).
“Interventions include the identification and uptake of biodiversity friendly agriculture and sustainable fisheries. (These livelihood should ) reduce pressure on the biodiversity and ecosystems (especially in uplands and address soil erosion and excessive sedimentation downstream in the riparian areas and coastal zones,” according to a project briefer.
By 2022, soil loss in Manila Bay will have been reduced. Existing biodiversity areas within Manila Bay region protected and conserved.
The project will be co-implemented by DENR’s-Biodiversity Management Bureau (DENR-BMB) and the Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Soils and Water Management (DA-BSWM). (Melody Mendoza Aguiba)