Photo by: LB Times
UPLB-INREM engages stakeholders of project on sustainable and resilient bioproduction systems in La Union

Informing stakeholders of a project’s progress helps cement their support for the project. This truism is sometimes taken for granted, but definitely not by the UPLB Interdisciplinary Studies Center for Integrated Natural Resources and Environment Management (UPLB-INREM).

UPLB-INREM engaged stakeholders of its project “Integration of Traditional and Modern Bioproduction Systems for a Sustainable and Resilient Future Under Climate and Ecosystems Changes (ITMoB)” in back-to-back meetings on April 18-21 in La Union.

UPLB-INREM held one of these meetings with stakeholders—the Forum on Baroro Watershed

Bioproduction Systems—in collaboration with the La Union Provincial Government Environment and Natural Resources Office (La Union PG-ENRO) on April 20, 2023.

The project team also held a series of community meetings facilitated by the National Commission for Indigenous Peoples on April 18, 19 and 21.

Forum with Baroro watershed stakeholders

With the La Union PG-ENRO, UPLB-INREM organized the Forum on Baroro Watershed Bioproduction Systems at the PDRRM Council Conference Room in San Fernando City to present the project’s initial findings, get feedback from the audience, and to present the project’s future activities.

Thirty stakeholders of the Baroro watershed attended the meeting including representatives from national government agencies and the local government units located within the watershed.

In her welcome remarks, Agnes Grace Cargamento, La Union provincial administrator and OIC provincial agriculturist said, “This is a very timely study and a very welcome development as this is one of the things we are looking into, on how to engage with academe in terms of helping us out in improving, changing, and adapting our systems and processes on the utilization of our natural resources.”

UPLB-INREM, with the Environmental Forestry Programme, has formed a strong partnership with the Provincial Government of La Union over the past many years to promote science and technology-based watershed at Baroro watershed.

Messages of support

In a video message, Hon. Raphaelle Veronica A. Ortega-David, governor of La Union, expressed continued and full support and assistance for ITMoB project.

“This project will greatly help the province of La Union to ensure the sustainability of watersheds, especially with the alarming effects of climate change. As we aim to position La Union as the heart of agri-tourism in Northern Luzon by 2025, rest assured that the PLGU will do its part to implement this project in the best way possible,” Ortega-David said.

Denver Badua, executive assistant of Vice Governor Mario Eduardo C. Ortega, delivered a message on the latter’s behalf. “The Office of the Vice Governor would like to express his support in aiding legislative measures for this project with the urgent need to address the environmental concerns of the province to develop potential interventions that will enhance ecosystem services. We hope to have policies and regulations that will be set, enforced, and operationalized based on the principles of transparency, participatory, and collaborative watershed management.”

Dr. Nimfa K. Torreta, OIC-director of the Forestry and Environment Research Division of the  Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-PCAARRD), also gave a video message to the forum participants.

“Supporting action research like the ITMoB is imperative for us because this allows us to directly contribute to addressing food security and poverty issues, especially in rural areas, which are greatly affected by land use and land cover, climate, and socio-demographic changes. We hope that this project can genuinely benefit us and that your engagement will continue to be fruitful,” Dr. Torreta said.

ITMoB para sa PUSO

Dr. Juan Pulhin, UPLB-INREM chair and ITMoB project leader, led the presentation of the project status and preliminary findings with work package leaders Dr. Cristino Tiburan, Jr. and Dr. Asa Jose Sajise.

According to him, the ITMoB project resonates with the PUSO agenda of La Union Governor Ortega-David.

He said that it is people-centered as it is participatory, provides universal access (as it is inclusive and will engage women and youth in its visioning exercises), sustainable and promotes a progressive economy as at the heart of a progressive economy is a sustainable and progressive ecosystem, and orderly, healthy, and resilient as the focus of the project is sustainability and resiliency. Dr. Pulhin then coined the tagline “ITMoB para sa PUSO.”

Open forum

The presentation was followed by an open forum wherein Mary Jane Ortega, former mayor of San Fernando City, and Toby Tamayo, PGLU consultant for sustainable agriculture and natural resources, were among the participants who shared their feedback and acknowledged the urgency and merits of the project. They expressed their hopes of replicating the study with the rest of the region and beyond.

Jay-ar Raquedan, representing Annalyn Rosario-Valdez, OIC of PG-ENRO, formally closed the forum, saying,“The results of the study will greatly help and assist the provincial government thru the Office of the Provincial Agriculture and PG-ENRO in planning and development of smart and sustainable bioproduction systems amidst the changing climate. Through this endeavor, we look forward to a stronger partnership for improved watershed governance towards building a stronger La Union.”

The ITMoB project team, together with representatives from PG-ENRO later visited the Lotus Valley Farm in San Juan, and La Union River Farm in Bacnotan to familiarize themselves with various bioproduction systems in the watershed. The visit was hosted by Tamayo and Cesar Ocampo, respectively.

Community meetings with leaders of indigenous peoples

In coordination with the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) Districts in La Union headed by Ms. Salud B. Umaybas-Dalog, Field-Based Investigation/Free and Prior Informed Consent (FBI/FPIC) Team Leader of NCIP Sudipen and Ms. Ester L. Marzan, FBI/FPIC Team Leader of NCIP Pugo, the project team successfully conducted three community presentations in San Gabriel, Bagulin, and Santol on April 18, 19, and 21, respectively.

The series of meetings is part of the Indigenous Knowledge Systems and Practices (IKSP) process for securing the FPIC of the Indigenous Cultural Communities/Indigenous Peoples (ICCs/IPs) within the Baroro Watershed. The meeting was attended by ICCs/IPs leaders from each barangay within the watershed.

Dr. Lorena Sabino and Dr. Juan Pulhin presented the project in these meetings and sought the consent of the IP leaders to allow it to be implemented in their areas. The project needs to seek information from the farmers and residents in the watershed to recommend policy interventions for its management. The meetings concluded with the indigenous leaders approving the project team’s request and signing resolutions as written proof of their approval. 

Implementation of ITMoB began on Oct. 16, 2021 and will end on Oct 15, 2024. ITMoB is funded by DOST-PCAARRD. (Angelica Magpantay, Farah Sevilla, Laizha Lynn Lomente)

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