The provincial government of Sarangani recently rolled out a multi-million peso rehabilitation project of the 7.9-hectare Saub watershed ecosystem in Maitum town.
Dubbed as Watershed Ecosystem Rehabilitation and Flood Risk Reduction for Increased Resilience, the project would cost P103 million, with counterpart fund sharing of about P93.5 million from the People’s Survival Fund and the P9.33 million from Sarangani.
The watershed covers nine barangays with a total of 1,747 households living along the 100-meter riparian zone, which are placed at high risk exposure to flooding and other climate hazards.
According to Governor Steve Chiongbian Solon, the memorandum of agreement sets the terms and conditions for the release of the P93.5-million grant from the PSF, the national government’s flagship finance climate program.
The project, which took three years before the PSF board approved it in July 2018, would improve the resilience of the Saub watershed ecosystem to flood and associated risks caused by climate change variability.
Since 2010, extreme flooding in Maitum has caused destruction to agricultural and structural properties, and loss of lives.
The PSF was created by Republic Act No. 9729 or the Climate Change Act of 2009, and aims to help vulnerable communities prepare for the adverse climatic events.
It is a special fund in the National Treasury for the financing of adaptation programs and projects based on the National Strategic Framework on Climate Change, with at least P1 billion annual supplementary allocations to relevant climate-related program funding of the local government units.
Solon expressed excitement over the project, which will be Sarangani’s biggest environmental plan so far, to be implemented in early 2019.
Partnering with the province in the undertaking are the municipality of Maitum, the Mindanao State University (MSU), Mahintana Foundation, Inc., and the Conrado and Ladislawa Alcantara Foundation, Inc. (CLAFI), which will provide technical assistance in the research, formulation of Saub Watershed Management Plan, project monitoring and evaluation.
The Environmental Conservation and Protection Center (ECPC) of Sarangani noted that flooding is the most common hazard experienced in the area. Flood susceptibility is computed to be 10,001 hectares for high, 5,881.65 hectares for moderate and 2,604.26 hectares for low.
The project will develop Saub watershed ecosystem resiliency and community protection through watershed governance, build the capacities of Maitum municipal government, development partners, beneficiaries and stakeholders to adapt to flood risks and impacts of climate change variability, alleviate poverty through agro-forestry development, and establish riverbank protection.
The provincial government of Sarangani will manage the project implementation and will work with the Maitum municipal government, which will provide technical and administrative support in all its stages.