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Mayors of Pampanga Hold Briefing on Manila Bay Activities

Pampanga, Philippines — Mayors of Pampanga Province were recently briefed on the efforts being undertaken to scale up integrated coastal management (ICM) in Manila Bay in support of the implementation of the Operational Plan for the Manila Bay Coastal Strategy.

The briefing was held on 4 May 2011 at the Executive House, Pampanga Provincial Capitol, and was attended by representatives of local governments, composed of Provincial Board Members, Mayors, Municipal Planning Officers, Provincial Government – Environment and Natural Resources Office (PG-ENRO) and PG-ENRO Staff, as well as the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), including the Regional Executive Director, Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO) Pampanga, and Manila Bay Site Management Office.

The meeting was arranged by PEMSEA to: (a) brief the Mayors and Board Members of the Province of Pampanga on the efforts being undertaken by DENR and PEMSEA to scale up ICM in Manila Bay in support of the implementation of the Operational Plan for the Manila Bay Coastal Strategy; (b) to discuss the LGUs role in relation to the Supreme Court's Order on the restoration and rehabilitation of Manila Bay; and (c) to determine the interest and commitment of the local governments to implement ICM.

Provincial Board Member Ric Yabut, welcomed the participants on behalf of Provincial Governor Lilia G. Pineda and expressed appreciation to DENR and PEMSEA for their presence and willingness to brief the body on ICM. Prof. Raphael P.M. Lotilla, PEMSEA Executive Director, highlighted the importance of partnerships in addressing the inter-related concerns besetting the coastal areas and the need for an integrated management approach. Prof. Lotilla further mentioned PEMSEA's role in scaling up ICM in the Philippines and assured the body of PEMSEA's support to Pampanga in the process of setting up their ICM program.

DENR PENRO of Pampanga reminded the group of the 11 February 2011 Supreme Court Order on the implementation of the Operational Plan for the Manila Bay Coastal Strategy, focusing on the activities that local governments need to undertake as well as the deadlines for compliance. Mr. S. Adrian Ross, Chief Technical Officer of PEMSEA, followed with a presentation on the role of ICM in achieving sustainable development targets of the Province of Pampanga, identifying the issues and threats in relation to governance and aspects of sustainable development; some proposed strategies to address the threats, including steps which the province may undertake in preparing for their ICM program development.

The PG-ENRO presented their flagship projects developed during the corporate social responsibility (CSR) write shop organized by PEMSEA. In the presentation, Mr. Arthur Punsalan highlighted the objectives and activities of the various programs, which will be presented to potential private sector partners during a CSR Roundtable Forum to be convened by PEMSEA.

During the open forum, a number of issues and problems were discussed, including lack of coordination with national agencies and neighbouring provinces in the management of marine and coastal areas.

After the discussion there was consensus among the Provincial Board members to adopt and implement ICM in the Province of Pampanga. It was agreed that the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (Provincial Council) will issue a Resolution to support the ICM program at the provincial level. The Pampanga League of Mayors will be requested to issue a similar resolution.

In order to commence the implementation of ICM in the province, the mayors will be requested to identify focal persons in their respective planning offices who will undergo ICM training to be conducted by PEMSEA in collaboration with DENR. PEMSEA and DENR were requested to prepare the training module, which the PG-ENRO will submit along with the request to the Sangguniang Panlalawigan to allocate funding for the organization and conduct of the training.

It was further agreed that replicating the neighbouring Province of Bataan's ICM experience would be a practical step for the Province of Pampanga.