Asia LEDS Forum

Participants in the Asia LEDS Forum 2016 in Hanoi, Vietnam gather for a souvenir photo. Philippine participants in the forum include Secretary Luwalhati Antonino, chair of the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA), Undersecretary Janet Lopoz, MinDA executive director, Raymond Tejano, MinDA technical officer, and representatives from the US Agency for International – Philippines. (ASIA LEDS Forum photo)

An incentive-based environmental program from Mindanao was recognized as one of the best practices for reducing emissions at a recently concluded international forum in Vietnam.

Speaking before practitioners and advocates of low-emission, climate-resilient development at the Asia LEDS Forum 2016 in Hanoi, Vietnam last June, Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) chairperson Secretary Luwalhati Antonino introduced the Payment for Ecosystem Services or PES as one of the many initiatives that the government is pursuing to maintain environmental integrity in the rapidly growing region of Mindanao.

“As the island-region pursues inclusive socioeconomic growth and development, we believe that it must also sensibly manage its environment and natural resources to sustain them into the future. In line with this conviction, we are currently working on the adoption of the Payment for Ecosystem Services or PES among our local government units,” Antonino said.

The PES works by providing financial incentives to stakeholders such as landowners and farmers who help in managing natural resources by rendering services that are beneficial the environment such as planting trees and ensuring their survival.

During one of the forum’s deep-dive sessions, MinDA Executive Director Undersecretary Janet M. Lopoz highlighted the many gains of the PES program, particularly in the municipality of Naawan, Misamis Oriental.

“Through an ordinance issued by the local government of Naawan to adopt PES, households were required to pay one peso for every cubic meter of water that they consume. As a result, they were able to raise funds amounting to more than 300,000 pesos that has been allocated for the municipality’s reforestation endeavors,” Lopoz explained.

Along with PES, Antonino also presented the One Stop Facilitation and Monitoring Center or OSFMC, a project designed to encourage the development of renewable energy (RE) sources in the region. The OSFMC serves as a platform for RE players to lobby their projects by accelerating the application process of permits needed for the construction of such facilities.

Antonino particularly underscored the role of OSFMC in revitalizing socio-economic growth in Mindanao which was hampered back then with power deficiency issues as well as in fulfilling the long-term vision of a diversified energy mix for the region.

“While Mindanao’s economic performance steadily increased, its power generation industry was not moving at a parallel pace. Intermittent supply of energy led to losses in income and brought a lukewarm reception for other investments.  In achieving this [OSFMC] target, we are proactively working with our partners to ensure our future needs for energy with the end-view of securing ecological balance,” she explained.                                            

The PES and OSFMC are some of the projects slated under the flagship programs of the Mindanao Development Authority or MinDA, a government agency mandated to promote, coordinate and facilitate the active and extensive participation of all sectors to effect socioeconomic development of Mindanao.

 

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