Masbate benefits from premier coastal resources management project

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has formally wrapped up a seven-year program, which helped improve sustainable management and conservation of the country’s rich marine biodiversity, and reduce poverty among local fishermen particularly in Masbate Province.


DENR Bicol Regional Director said that the same project is considered as one of the DENR’s most comprehensive biodiversity management programs, the Integrated Coastal Resources Management Project or ICRMP which consistently promoted the “ridge-to-reef’ approach for sustainably managing the coastal resources and to increase the income of fisherfolk by providing them greater access to livelihood opportunities.


“In Bicol, the Island Province of Masbate was the recipient, covering one city and 16 towns that was implemented from the year 2007 until 2014. The project has a holistic approach, it is premised on the concept that our coastal and marine resources can only thrive and be sustained if we address threats in the uplands, lowlands and coastal areas,” RD Gonzales said.


ICRMP was a joint project of the DENR and the Asian Development Bank, as well as the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources of the Department of Agriculture and the Municipal Development Fund Office under the Department of Finance. Its implementation was originally set for six years, from June 2007 to June 2013, but was given a one-year extension until June 2014.


The program was implemented in a total of 80 municipalities across seven provinces in various regions across the country. These include the provinces of Cagayan in Cagayan Valley Region; Zambales in Central Luzon; Romblon in Mimaropa; Masbate in Bicol; Cebu and Siquijor in Central Visayas; and Davao Oriental in Davao Region.


The Masbate ICRMP has a multifaceted component design; the first component – policy and institutional strengthening –focused on increasing the participation from the different stakeholders, allocating budget, and building capacities. Policy studies were also conducted on topics such as on the management of mangroves, foreshore and environmental hazards.


The second component, which focused on biodiversity conservation, targeted the protection and improvement of coral reefs, mangroves and watersheds, and increasing fish stocks. The ICRMP facilitated the establishment or strengthening of 9 marine protected areas covering a total of almost 5,600 hectares. 


Another component, enterprise development and income diversification, allowed stakeholders, particularly communities, to increase their income and become more self-reliant with the establishment of ecotourism and enterprise activities like culinary enterprise.


The last component enabled local government to identify, prioritize and select social and environmental services and facilities such as water supply/system project in the town of Palanas, fisherman’s federation complex in San Pascual and municipal wharf in Mobo.


Press Release: December 17, 2017