Xavier Science Foundation, Inc. presented the Payment for Ecosystems Services (PES) initiatives during the Mt. Kalatungan Range Natural Park Updating of General Management Plan and 17th Protected Area Management Board En Banc Meeting on June 19-20, 2018 at Philtown Hotel in Cagayan de Oro City.
Ms. Thieza Verdijo, Deputy Director shared about the PES activities as well as the various projects complementary to the initiative namely the Enhancement of Community Capacity for Sustainable Ecological Protection and Economic Development (EcoSEED) and the Enhancing Communities’ Capacity for Inclusive Ecosystem Management and Rural Economic Sustainability (ECOCARES) within the Mt. Kalatungan landscape.
Datu Rio Besto, Chairman of MILALITTRA, the partner community in the implementation of PES and act as the SELLER of the ecosystem services affirmed that the PES initiative is the “reality” of their dream. Supporting the initiative is very important to them and other Indigenous Peoples communities surrounding the Mt. Kalatungan are encouraged to also support the initiative.
Vice-Governor Alex Calingasan lauded the update of XSF and MILALITTRA, he expressed positive response to the initiative and encouraged support from the body. Furthermore, ARD Paquito Melicor of DENR-10 informed the body of the efforts on PES that is being initiated by the City of Cagayan de Oro to provide additional support to continue the initiative. ARD Melicor challenged the Local Government Units present to pass an ordinance in support of PES in their respective localities and establish the mechanism to protect the forests of Mt. Kalatungan.
EcoSEED Phase 2 is supported by the Forest Foundation Philippines and is implemented within the municipalities of Talakag, Maramag, Pangantucan and the city of Valencia. It is focused on capacity-building, forest protection and rehabilitation, social enterprise development, harmonization of various reforestation plans and programs, and research and IEC. While, ECOCARES is in partnership with the Department of Finance through the Philippine-Italy Debt for Development Swap Program and is implemented in the municipalities of Talakag, Baungon and Libona. It is focused on capacity building, IEC, collaborative forest rehabilitation and management, and agro-enterprise development.
Both projects mentioned supports the effort of PES within the Kalatungan landscape.