On February 20-23, 2024, the Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Soils and Water Management (DA-BSWM) through the Soil Conservation and Management Division (SCMD), being the Executing Agency, and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) as the Implementing Agency conducted a Reorientation of some of the major stakeholders of the Securing Long-Term Sustainability of Multifunctional Landscapes in Critical River Basins of the Philippines also known as the Landscape Project under the Global Environment Facility Fund Cycle 7 or the GEF 7. The DA-BSWM was represented by  Engr. Amelene C. Derita and Ms. Filipina Z. Ventigan, while the UNDP was represented by Mr. Mark Anthony Ramirez.

The Landscape Project seeks to create an enabling environment for the realization of the National Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN) target and to mainstream Biodiversity-friendly Agricultural Practices (BDFAP) in the Cagayan De Oro River Basin (CDORB) through national policy framework implementation and capacity strengthening. The Project specifically aims to create an enabling policy environment for LDN and BDFAP, and enhanced capacity for integrated landscape management at sub-national level leading to improved biodiversity and ecosystem services in the CDORB. It also aims to sustainably manage at least 58,000 ha of cultivated landscapes ensured by farmers, Indigenous People (IP) communities and multinational companies through the adoption of Sustainable Land Management (SLM) and BDFA Practices. Lastly, the Project intends to capacitate and raise the awareness of stakeholders on SLM, LDN, BDFAP, and integrated landscape management approaches by effective gender-sensitive knowledge management and monitoring and evaluation (M&E).

During the Reorientation activity, the Team convened with the partners such as the DA Regional Field Office (RFO) X headed by Director Carlene C. Collado, represented by Mr. Samuel Natimdim, Jr. and Engr. Warlito Barcuma; the Director of the National Commission on Indigenous People (NCIP) of Region X Dir. Ordonio P. Rocero Jr, the DENR Region X headed by Director Henry A. Adornado, represented by Engr. Isidro Jabla and his team, the Provincial Local Government Unit  (PLGU) of Bukidnon headed by Governor Rogelio Neil P. Roque represented by its PPDO Norberto T. Baltazar Jr. and Lanie J. Sarilla, PGB-BENRO Regine M. Manguirat; Catherine F. Hooper; Jesu Christi T. Abejuela; and Cecille M. Eguas, PAGRO Jaqueline A. Lagamon, and PGO-ABED Deneb Joel V. Ganancial. Aside from this, a productive discussion was held with the PENRO Bukidnon represented by Benedicto Golosino, Haybee Jabonero, and Maricel Ampano.

A meeting was also conducted with the representatives from the four (4) Local Government Units (LGU) of Libona, Talakag, Baungon, and Cagayan De Oro City who play a vital role in the project implementation being the municipalities within the watershed of the CDORB: Engr. James N. Escaňer of Libona; Philip Darwin Dela Peňa and Alberto S. Bigcas of Talakag; Michael Anthony Cabala, Elvisa Mabelin, Mary Lynne Cananea, Mae Anne Timoteo, and Marcela Aggarao of Cagayan De Oro City; as well as with the Volunteers of Kitanglad Integrated Network (KIN) Easter Canoy and Datu Aligpulos Dominador Decano. Datu Aligpulos is also a member of the MILALITTRA IP Group, one of the IP communities within Mt. Kitanglad.

Additionally, a meeting was held with the former Regional Director of DENR X Mr. Raoul Geollegue, who is also representing the Hineleban Foundation Inc.  

The insightful discussions, their willingness to engage in the Project and the diverse perspectives especially of the IP community made the visit more enriching and productive. There were ideas explored, valuable insights exchanged, and new perspectives uncovered on how to implement the Project on the ground. Overall, their passion, expertise, and open-mindedness paved the way for a positive impact in realizing the Landscape Projects’ goals and objectives.

For the next phase of the Project implementation, Project Inception Workshop will be conducted. The Inception Workshop will serve as an avenue for the stakeholders to come together and deepen their understanding of the project.

(Engr. Amelene Cadiz-Derita, SCMD)