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Philippines : CDO river basin council proposes Payment for Ecological Services.

Catastrophic flooding especially for people living downstream is what urged Cagayan de Oro City River Basin Management Council (CDORBMC) to propose for a rewards system dubbed Payment for Ecological Services (PES).

In a meeting with CDORBMC technical working group, it was revealed that many areas in the river basin and watersheds in the city have already been degraded, and that its ability to absorb water has lessened.

According to Dr. Hilly Ann Roa-Quiaoit, executive director of CDORBMC, the high volume of rain will become surface run-off that will result to catastrophic flooding especially to communities downstream.

Cagayan de Oro has one major river basin and six watershed areas, namely: Iponan, Alae, Agusan, Gusa, Cugman and Bigaan watersheds; and three sub-watersheds areas, namely: Tignapoloan, Dansolihon, and Besigan.

These landscapes play a vital role in the delivery of the environmental services to the city such as water provision, climate regulation, and biodiversity.

A study by Rosalina Palanca-Tan of Ateneo de Manila University in 2003 entitled "Watershed and Groundwater Depletion in the Philippines: The Cagayan de Oro Experience" showed physical indicators of depletion of groundwater.

There is a fall in static water level and fall in pumping water level: Brgy Macasandig, 3 ft./year; Bugo, 1 ft./year; and Calaanan, 7 to 14 ft./year.

Causes to the groundwater depletion have been identified, such as Cagayan de Oro groundwater abstractions, Growth Urbanization, and Aquifer groundwater or salt water intrusion and sea level rise.

The proposed ordinance, An Ordinance Imposing for an Ecological Service and Protection Fee, Providing for the Management and Use Thereof, and for Other Purposes," otherwise known as Ecological Services and Protection Fee Ordinance of 2019," is a cost-effective and sustainable means to improve environmental management and restoration program in the city.

Based on the proposed ordinance, ecological service fees and agreements will be imposed on all water users in the city.

Meanwhile, sectors who are required to contribute to PES are commercial, household with own deep wells, industrial, land developers, water recreational facilities, water service providers, and water tourism.

Further, land developers, industries, and water service providers shall adopt a watershed within the identified High Risk Areas within watersheds in Cagayan de Oro and its river basin particularly Besigan, Dansolihon, Tignapoloan, FS Catanico Bayanga, Indahag, and Balulang.

The fund to be created under PES shall be utilized for the conservation, protection, and restoration of CDO river basin, its watersheds, and sub-watersheds.

Quiaoit said there is a need to take care of the watershed to continue water security and prevent flooding.

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Publication:Mena Report
Geographic Code:9PHIL
Date:May 22, 2019
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