Zamboanga, Philippines — Region IX of the Philippines Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has intensified its technical assistance to institutionalize integrated coastal management (ICM) in several southern provinces of the country. The DENR Region IX team, led by Forester Neneth T. Ordono, Chief of the Coastal and Marine Management Division, visited local governments in the Zamboanga Peninsula to build awareness among national and local government officials, technical staff, nongovernmental organizations, the business sector and other coastal stakeholders on the implementation of Executive Order 533, a national policy adopting ICM as a strategy for sustainable development of marine and coastal resources. Over the past three years, about 25 local governments in the Province of Zamboanga del Norte, as well as 5 landlocked municipalities in Zamboanga del Sur Province and Zamboanga City, have undergone ICM orientation sessions. In the Province of Zamboanga del Sur, two coastal towns received ICM orientation earlier this year. This past April, 4 local governments in Zamboanga Sibugay Province and about 7 in Zamboanga Sibugay Province underwent ICM orientation sessions. In total, 44 municipalities/cities in Region IX have now been introduced to the ICM framework and process. During the orientation sessions, the concept, framework and six stages of the ICM process were explained to participants. Several other topics were integrated into the orientation sessions as well, including climate change and mangrove co-management. Based on the experience, there was general agreement among the municipalities to strengthen ongoing coastal resource management (CRM) programs through integration into the ICM framework. Some early activities planned in the area include Participatory Coastal Resource Assessment (PCRA), Participatory Resource Assessment/ Initial Risk Assessment (PRA)/IRA, stakeholder identification and analysis, etc.) to complete a status review of existing programs. DENR Region IX provided technical assistance to the Municipalities of Kabasalan and Buug in Zamboanga Sibugay Province for the development of ICM plans. At least two other ICM plans will be developed and adopted in the region within the year. Technical assistance was also provided to help strengthen local government alliances. Currently, two development alliances for ICM in the Province of Zamboanga Sibugay have been organized, namely: a) Saving Marine and Aquatic Resources through Teamwork Sibuguey Bay Development Alliance (SMARRT–SBDA) for ICM; and b) Talusan, Olutanga, Mabuhay, Malangas, Buug and Alicia (TOMMBA) Development Alliance for ICM. The alliances, which were signed on 21 February 2011, are a formal commitment of the concerned local governments to undertake collaborative activities within the ICM framework. In addition, technical assistance was provided by the Department to strengthen locally managed Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), in collaboration with the USAID-supported ECOGOV 2 Project, as well as mangrove conservation and rehabilitation activities in priority areas. DENR Region IX established a Regional MPA Monitoring and Evaluation Core Team through Regional Special Order No. 015 dated 11 January 2011. The team completed 19 assessments using the Marine Protected Area Assessment Tool (MEAT) and conducted biophysical and community perception surveys. The results of the assessments provide input for the preparation of the State of the Coasts Reports. Article contributed by Neneth T. Ordono.