DOST-PCAARRD reviews Project SARAI

SARAI review 01 2019Accomplishments presented. PCAARRD-ARMRD reviewed year one of Project SARAI phase 2.

The Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquaculture and Natural Resources Research and Development-Agricultural Resources Management Research Division (PCAARRD-ARMRD), conducted a program review of the year one accomplishments of the Smarter Approaches to Reinvigorate Agriculture as an Industry in the Philippines (Project SARAI) phase two held at E.O. Tan Hall, PCAARRD, Los Baños, Laguna last January 28, 2019. 

Aimed at monitoring and evaluating the progress of the program, more than 100 participants including the SARAI project components, partner State Universities and Colleges (SUCs), National Government Agencies (NGAs) and PCAARRD staff attended the event. Fifteen project components of SARAI and 11 partner SUCs were able to present their accomplishments and activities. 

Dr. Maria Victoria O. Espaldon, program and project leader, presented the program overview and the accomplishments of Project SARAI. For the past months, the program has strengthened its partnership through local inception meeting and local launching of Project SARAI. Partnerships that stemmed from the local inception and launching were the various agencies from different regions around the country. It has also established demonstration and monitoring sites, which were distributed among the different SUCs. Demo farms served as venues for SARAI farmers to show the potential benefits of adopting SARAI technologies and management techniques by the program.

The evaluators of the program were Mr. Rodolfo I. Ilao, former PCAARRD-ARMRD director; Dr. Antonio J. Alcantara, former SESAM professor and currently the Municipal Environment and Natural Resources Officer (MENRO) of the Municipality of Los Baños, Laguna; and Dr. Nathaniel Bantayan, professor at the College of Forestry and Natural Resources, UPLB.  

SESAM conducts Stakeholders’ Validation Workshop on the Assessment of Management Options for Laguna de Bay

LlamoreRepresentatives from various stakeholders of the Laguna de Bay region gathered to discuss pertinent issues concerning their sectors in view of the different management options for Laguna Lake in a workshop facilitated by SESAM at the E.O. Tan Hall of DOST-PCAARRD last January 29, 2019. 

In response to the government’s thrust in reviving the important resource area of Laguna Lake, the School of Environmental Science and Management (SESAM), though the Ecosystem Services and Environmental Policy (ESEP) Research Laboratory, implemented the research project titled “Assessing the Implications of Various Resource Use and Management Options in Laguna de Bay” (Project LLAMORE). With funding support from Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (DOST-PCAARRD) and in close partnership with the Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA), this project aims to bring in significant environmental and socio-economic assessment of the different resource use and management options contemplated for Laguna de Bay that could be used as technical basis for decision-making concerning the sustainable management of the lake.


As part of the project’s culminating activities, a one-day validation workshop was conducted on January 29, 2019, at the DOST-PCAARRD in Los Banos, Laguna, to present and validate the results of the study to the various stakeholders of the Laguna de Bay region. Overall, 51 participants attended the activity, including FARMC leaders of Laguna and Rizal, officers of associations of fishpen owners and operators, agricultural and environmental officers from the local governments of Muntinlupa, Binangonan, Pililla, Jalajala and Calamba, officials from LLDA, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Research (BFAR), the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA), and scientists and academicians from PCAARRD, National Academy of Science and Technology (NAST), and UPLB. 


The first part of the program consisted of messages from key project partners and presentation of study results. In his address, Dr. Reynaldo Ebora, Executive Director of PCAARRD, highlighted the need for conducting empirical studies on the complex issues of Laguna Lake to advance science-based solutions towards a more vibrant Laguna de Bay region.


On behalf of General Manager Jaime Medina, Ms. Adelina Santos-Borja of LLDA expressed their agency’s support to this undertaking and stressed the importance of regular multi-stakeholder dialogues and activities to ensure policy options for Laguna Lake will remain responsive to the needs of the basic sectors. She likewise presented an overview of the management options on Laguna Lake, mentioning the ongoing efforts on streamlining and finalizing the implementing rules and regulations of the latest revisions on the Zoning and Management Plan for Laguna de Bay. 


For her part, Dr. Decibel Faustino-Eslava, Dean of SESAM, highlighted the importance of employing a holistic and interdisciplinary lens in the assessment of the multiple and conflicting uses of the critical resource of Laguna Lake. She likewise underscored the need for more collaborative activities between different stakeholders such as this workshop to improve scientific and policy aspects of Laguna de Bay through exchanging of knowledge and learnings.

After the messages from key project partners, Dr. Rico Ancog, Assistant Professor of UPLB-SESAM and Project Leader of Project LLAMORE, presented the study results beginning with the assessment of the livelihood systems and level of dependency of communities around the lake. This was followed by the results of the cost-benefit analysis on three management scenarios: the 2016 scenario or no change in management intervention; aquaculture structures limited to 10% of lake area; and lake-based tourism. Lastly, Dr. Ancog likewise the study’s assessment on the productivity and efficiency of aquaculture activities in the lake through a spatial-temporal analysis of lake aquaculture structures and a technical efficiency analysis of aquaculture operations. 


In the afternoon session, the program proceeded with the workshop proper wherein participants were grouped into sectors. Overall, seven groups were formed representing the relevant sectors concerned in the sustainable management of the lake: the municipal fisherfolks; the aquaculture operators; the local government units from Rizal and Laguna; the local government units from NCR; the national government agencies; the Laguna Lake Development Authority; and the scientific and academic sector. Each group discussed and presented the positive and negative effects of the three management scenarios on their sector’s chosen priority lake uses. Likewise, recommendations for policy actions to enhance the positive effects or control the negative effects were also solicited and shared.


The program ended with a synthesis and closing remarks from Dr. Alice Joan Ferrer, Professor of UP Visayas and Project Staff of Project LLAMORE, where she emphasized the importance of multi-sectoral collaboration and dialogue in forwarding an effective and sustainable management of the complex issue of Laguna de Bay.


Overall, insights gathered from the workshop served as critical input to the project and shall be integrated with the initial results of the study in the formulation of policy recommendations towards a more sustainable resource use and management of Laguna Lake. 

Together with Dr. Ancog and Dr. Ferrer, the workshop was also conducted with the other members of the research team, which include Dr. Ma. Victoria Ortega-Espaldon of Professor, UPLB-SESAM, Mr. Vince Escarcha, Ms. Jochelle Abello, and Mr. Edizon Avila of UPLB-SESAM ESEP Research Laboratory, Ms. Veronica Castillo of UPLB College of Economics and Management and For. Arnan Araza from the Wageningen University and Research (Vince Escarcha/SESAM ESEP Lab).

SESAM ESEP Lab holds validation workshop on impact assessment of a coral reef rehabilitation technology

PhilCORA Workshop

The SESAM’s Ecosystems Services and Environmental Policy (ESEP) has recently conducted a validation workshop last 30 November 2018 at the C.B. Perez Hall of PCAARRD for the results of a 2-year project, “Impact assessment of the Filipinnovation on coral rehabilitation program in the Philippines (PhilCORA Project).” Participants were from UPLB, University of San Carlos, Batangas State University and DOST-PCAARRD.


The project is a pioneering undertaking aimed at evaluating the coral transplantation technology that was tested by the FilipinnovationProgram, which was implemented by DOST-PCAARRD and select academic institutions to rehabilitate degraded reef ecosystems in several areas of the country. Analysis of impacts of the coral transplantation technology covered the a) biophysical aspects (e.g. ecosystem structure and function) and b) its subsequent impacts to the economic and social aspects. For about 4-5 years since the program implementation, impact evaluation was deemed necessary in order to compare the costs of rehabilitation with the net benefits that would accrue years after the rehabilitation.

Now on its final phase, the project’s analysis of the impacts are now being prepared towards the development of a management and monitoring plan and protocol. Agencies pursuing coral rehabilitation projects, including the national government agencies funding such projects, would have a good basis on the implementation and roll-out programs.  It is expected that the analysis of this proposed project would provide an empirical accounting of the marginal effects of coral transplantation technology particularly in terms of the increased tourism and biodiversity against its costs. 

Through this project, SESAM intends to contribute towards a more robust and scientific basis in the conduct of an impact assessment of a coral reef rehabilitation technology particularly in the Philippines. The members of the interdisciplinary research team are Rico Ancog as the project lead; and team members namely, Hildie Nacorda, Canesio Predo, Rodel Subade, Jomar Rabajante, Badi Samaniego, Christina Corales, Annelyn Balatayo and Mia Salcedo. It was implemented through the funding support of DOST-PCAARRD.

SESAM implements a pioneering DENR-funded project on invasive alien species (IAS)

AVPLDr. Rico Ancog presenting the project to the DENR Technical Working Group (TWG) for AVPL meeting, December 5, 2018, Office of the Regional Director of DENR Region XII.

The School of Environmental Science and Management (SESAM) is implementing a project on evaluating the impacts of the increasing geographical distribution of a major invasive alien species in Mindanao island in the southern Philippines. With funding from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources Central Office (DENR-CO) through its Foreign-Assisted Special Projects Services (FASPS), the project aims to quantify the environmental, socio-cultural, and economic impacts of Piper aduncumas basis for the formulation of enhanced management in Allah Valley Protected Landscape (AVPL).

Piper aduncum, locally called buyo-buyo, is a small tree belonging to the family Piperaceae, characterized as a plant that reaches a height of about 7 to 10 m, with alternate leaves, spiky flowers and fruits with very small seeds. It is a tropical plant that is native to Mexico and Bolivia, but now found also in South and North America, Southeast Asia and the Pacific (Rogers and Hertemink 2000). In the Philippines, P. aduncum, was believed to have been introduced in 1994 through migratory birds in Western Mindanao (FPRDI 1994). Today, most of the open areas in mountains and lowlands of Mindanao are covered by this species (Japitana 2016). This species today occupied most open areas in the island of Mindanao, whether on flat, sloping or steep slopes of mountains, agricultural and agroforestry fields or even until the urban centers.  


In the Allah Valley Protected Landscape (AVPL) in particular, some view that the impacts of this species in the context of biodiversity conservation could be negative, while others have noted its potential as source of income for fuel wood production and soil erosion control as compared to when an area is colonized by other grasses.  With this contrasting uses, P. aduncumhas sparked debate among various stakeholders. The DENR, therefore, has called for the formulation of a framework covering the documentation and evaluation of the different consequences to better aid decision making and to also serve as template for the evaluation of other controversial IAS in the future.


In response, a research team from SESAM has been organized with Dr. Rico Ancog and Dr. Leonardo Florece as project leaders. During its presentation at the DENR Central Office with the DENR Technical Working Group last November 15, 2018, Dr. Ancog elaborated the importance of employing a comprehensive impact evaluation framework that covers the environmental, socio-cultural and economic aspects related to IAS. For his part, Dr. Florece also highlighted the importance of the current project in providing policy guidance for the control of IAS in the context of protected area management. The project has also received statements of support from other national government agencies such as DENR-Biodiversity Management Bureau and DENR-Forest Management Bureau, among others.


The SESAM research team has also presented during the meeting of TWG-AVPL at the Office Regional Director of DENR Region XII, South Cotabato, last 5 December 2018. Dr. Hadja Didaw Piang-Brahim, Assistant Regional Director for Technical Services for Region 12, has raised the timeliness and importance of the project given the on-going concern of IAS. Similarly, For. Leonisa C. Alfaro, Protected Area Superintendent of AVPL, emphasized that the results of the project would indeed be a great contribution for their further improvement of their management plan. On the other hand, PENRO Shalimar Disomangcop acknowledged the team for recognizing the need of attention with regards to IAS in AVPL saying, “Rest assured is our commitment to support, not only for the duration of the project, but rather with its sustainability.” 


The team was also invited to attend to present in the Executive Committee meeting of PAMB of AVPL last December 6, 2018. Dr. Ancog further discussed the significance of doing an evidence-based impact assessment in AVPL through evaluation of the effects of P.aduncumusing varying indicators. The project gained positive responses from the committee. Peter Carbon, the incumbent chair of Allah Valley Land Development Alliance, commended the concept of the project as a whole. Eduardo Robante, from National Commission on Indigenous People and the Chairman of a People’s Organization in AVPL, expressed his gratitude on behalf of the whole T’boli community saying, “This would definitely be a powerful tool for the protection of our environment.” Moreover, Albert Boer of Tribal Leaders Development Foundation Inc. (TLDFI) mentioned the appropriateness of the study in the area. He also added that the results of the project would finally provide answers on how to effectively address this long-time alarming issue about buyo-buyo. Finally, the Executive Committee of PAMB unanimously granted SESAM team the clearance for the conduct of the project in AVPL. Together with the clearance is their pledge in participating and supporting the project team.


By 2019, the project should have accomplished different outputs for the management of P.aduncumon AVPL. This includes an assessment and documentation report on the environmental impacts of P. aduncumon AVPL, an excel-based evaluation tool that will help and serve as a decision making tool for the stakeholders and local units involved on the management of AVPL, and  policy recommendations on the management of P. aduncum(Stellah Grace Aclan and Jomari Christian D.C. Baggay).



Col. MoradosCol. Efren Morados, Chief of PPPD of OJ3, AFP, thanked SESAM-UPLB for imparting climate change resiliency knowledge to the armed forces.

The School of Environmental Science and Management-University of the Philippines Los Baños (SESAM-UPLB), in partnership with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), conducted a resiliency seminar for AFP executives at Hotel Kimberly, Tagaytay City, December 4 to 6, 2018.

The seminar aims to enhance the basic understanding and appreciation on climate change-- its physical science basis, impacts, adaptation and vulnerability, and mitigation of Climate Change; Hazards, Risks, Exposure and Sensitivity; People, Ecosystems and the Environment; Assessment methodologies and advocacy strategies; Further, this seminar also aims to provide a lecture-discussion forum and insights on current policies and advances in technology and practices on climate change adaptation and mitigation (CCAM) and disaster risk reduction and management (DRRM).

The AFP counterpart from the Planning, Policies and Program Development (PPPD), Office of J3 (OJ3) gathered commissioned officers from the different branches of the AFP-- the Philippine Army (PA), Philippine Navy (PN) and Philippine Airforce (PAF). As part of the their mandate, the AFP is also in the forefront of civil defense. The AFP has been a primary responder during disasters and calamities and is frequently deployed in disaster- and/or calamity-stricken areas to conduct disaster relief and rescue operations and provide missions for medical and healthcare services.

Col. Efren Morados, Chief of the PPPD, said it is also important that AFP officers, non-commissioned officers and civilian employees must be able to understand the effects of climate change. A master’s degree holder on National Security Administration, Col. Morados stressed the importance of this resiliency seminar for the future plans of the AFP. “Lets take advantage of this seminar, as this will give us an institutional memory in preparation for the next activities on climate resiliency of the AFP”, Col. Morados said.

Various lectures from experts of different fields will be delivered on this three-day seminar. Among those who will share their expertise are Drs. Leo Armada and Karlo Queaño, from the National Institute of Geological Sciences, UP Diliman; Drs. Jenelyn Padrones, Nathaniel Bantayan and Rex Victor Cruz of the College of Forestry and Natural Resources-UPLB; Drs. Decibel Eslava, Hildie Marie Nacorda, Ma. Victoria O. Espaldon and Yusof Sucol of SESAM-UPLB; and Dr. Rogel Marie Sese, Program Director, National Space Development Program-Department of Science and Technology.  

The seminar invited more than 30 AFP personnel. At the end of this 3-day resilience seminar, they are expected to have held and embraced a deeper understanding and appreciation on the concepts/views on climate change and hazards in the global and local contexts; and have pursued a participatory and dynamic lecture-discussion forum in getting potential knowledge to action programs for resilience building, and in exploring information, advocacy capacity campaigns within its organization and the communities that it serve.


Water forum Nov 2018

Participants of the Water Forum Series 2 at the College of Forestry and Natural Resources (CFNR) Auditorium, last November 12, 2018. (photo: Camille Agbay)


The University of the Philippines Los Baños Interdisciplinary Studies for Water conducted its 2nd Water Forum on urban and rural water last November 12, 2018 at the College of Arts and Sciences Auditorium. With the theme "Urban and Rural Water: Access, Sanitation and Governance", the main objective of the forum is to determine the status and challenges of rural and urban water in the country. National Government Agencies, Local Government Units, International Organization, Non-Government Organization and academe among others attended the forum.

Dr. Marish S. Madlangbayan, Vice Chancellor for Planning and Development welcomed the participants. Dr. Patricia Ann J. Sanchez, Chair of the UPLB Water Center and Professor, School of Environmental Science and Management (SESAM), delivered an overview presentation, while Dr. Raden G. Piadozo, Dean of the College of Human Ecology, enumerated the agenda of the forum. 

Dr. Felino P. Lansigan, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences discussed the status and threats of urban and rural water resources in the country. He highlighted that climate change is one of the factors affecting water resources in the country. Water security issues include accessibility, availability, affordability, sanitation, governance and sustainability, he added. 

Ms. Rona Raisa Ramos of TySeven UK disccused community-based infrastructure and sanitation. She emphasized that the common problems in local areas are open defecation and low financing for water and sanitation facilities.

Dr. Damasa B. Macandog, Professor, Institute of Biological Science, CAS-UPLB, lectured on water transboundary issues in the case of Santa Rosa, Laguna. She higlighted the upstream and downstream connection or the ridge-to-reef concept in analyzing a watershed. She also added that there is a higher demand for water at the urban areas. 

Regarding the terms of water access and sanitation in urban and rural areas in Laguna, Engr. Virginia Fabros of the Laguna Provincial Health Office emphasized that there are programs and initiatives in addressing these issues but there should be a clear collaboration between various institutions. She also encouraged everyone not to patronage unregistered“sip-sip poso negro”companies. 

Ms. Crispina Muan of the Laguna Lake Development Authority discussed managing water resources in urban and rural communities, wherein she elaborated the commitments done by their agency. It includes environmental education, community-based people’s planning, information drive, massive campaign on waste segregation and zero waste and developing new policies for watershed sustainability. 

From the private sector, Engr. Christian Henry Lacson of Laguna Water District Aquatech Resources Corporation, talked about managing water system in some of the municipalities of Laguna. He highlighted that there should be a balance between services and tariffs. Additionally, they already have calibrated hydraulic models. 

The last plenary speaker was Mr. Rogelio Ocampo from the Department of Interior and Local Government, who discussed the local government initiative on water. The existing set-up of water institution in the country is fragmented, he added. Also, he said that there are too many policies that makes the LGU confused. Hence, there is a need for a unified implementation of existing policies and plans. 

Some of the suggested actions during the workshop is to create an apex institution on water to address the fragmented set-up of water agencies in the country and to implement of culturally-sensitive IEC. Also recommended was the compliance to international agreements and implementation of multisectoral capacity building and collaboration. (Jessa O. Aquino and Catherine B. Gigantone)