DENR averts climate-vulnerability in flooding-prone Ilog Hilabangan (Negros), Tagum Libuganon (Davao Region), “ecosystem-based” management done

January 7, 2021

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is implementing an ecosystem-based management on Ilog-Hilabangan in Negros Isalnd and Tagum-Libuganon in Davao Region (mainly Davao del Norte) in an aim to reduce their vulnerability to climate change and natural disasters.

  DENR and the Deutsche Geselschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) signed a technical cooperation agreement for the implementation of the Ecosystem-based Adaptation in River Basins (E2RB) project.

   DENR’s River Basin Control Office (RBCO), implementation partner of the project, initiated activities in 2021 despite challneges due to the Covid 19 pandemic.

   “A Project Management Committee has already been created.  We can start implementation this year after some delays due to Covid 19,” according to RBCO Executive Director Nelson V, Gorospe.

   The Philippine government is receiving a E4.6 million grant from the German government  for the “Ecosystem-based Adaptation in 2 River Basins” . 

Tagum Libuganon River in Davao Region

   It will strengthen the river basins’ ecosystem services, protect their biodiversity, and important, reduce their vulnerability to climate change as destructive flooding have been experienced in the river basins.

   “One of the basis for the choice of the site is perennial flooding,” said Gorospe.

   The German Federal Ministry of Environment, Nature Conservatin and Nuclear Safety through the International Climate Initiative has commissioned GIZ to implement the project.

   E2RB is in line with DENR’s program on Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation and Disaster Risk Reduction Roadmap 2018-2022. It also aligns with the Philippine Development Plan 2017-2022, Philioppine Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan, and enhanced National Greening Program.

   “The effective protection of forests in river basins supports the objectives of the Philippine intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC) in the area of mitigation through the contribution of forest sector to the planned total greenhouse gas reduction of 70% in 2030,” according to the DENR-GIZ implementation agreement.

Ilog Hilabangan, Negros

   The project intends to have the following impacts:

  •  Secure access to drinking water for 500 households and sufficient supply of water for 3,000 hectares of agricultural land
  • Introduction of financial instruments to support the EbA activities
  • Use of ecosystem services valuation instruments in government policies, plans and monitoring procedures for conservation financing for river basins
  • Reduce vulnerability to climate change  with improved biodiversity protection (from landslide, flood risk in four watersheds in at least 20 municipalities by 10 %.
Flood hazard map, Ilog Hilabangan. Credit- Mahar Lagmay

   Government has also been arresting extinction of important species in the forests in the river basins.     Among the threatened species in the Ilog Hilabangan watershed are hornbills (Penelopides panini and Aceros waldeni), the endangered Philippine spotted deer (Cervus alfredi), and the Philippine warty pig (Sus cebifrons (WCSP 1997). (Melody Mendoza Aguiba)

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