Bukidnon-Negros Occidental learning exchange focused on payment for ecosystem services

Bago City Vice Mayor Ramon D. Torres welcomed the visiting IP and LGU leaders from Mindanao and shared the city LGU's PES initiatives to support forest and watershed conservation. (Photo credit: USAID/B-WISER)

On April 26, indigenous people and local government unit (LGU) representatives from Bukidnon, who are also stakeholders of the Cagayan de Oro River Basin (CDORB), visited Bago City in Negros Occidental to learn best practices in implementing an LGU-led Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES) system. The visit was part of the learning exchange activity of the forum on “Strengthening Watershed Ecosystem for Climate Resiliency through PES” organized by the Philippine Watershed Management Coalition. Bago City is considered as one of the pioneers in enjoining a large number of partners (including households, commercial and industrial establishments, resort owners, and rice and sugar farmers) in PES transactions. The city’s Environment and Natural Resources Office presented their PES experience, highlighting the processes and challenges in the formulation of the Environmental Protection Ordinance, the collection of Environmental Protection Fund, fund management, and disbursement mechanism. The visitors lauded the effort made by Bago City and signified their interest to replicate the same in LGUs covering CDORB. USAID's B+WISER Program assisted Bago City’s LGU in developing the PES mechanism to broaden the source of fund and establish sustainable financing to protect forests and watersheds in northern Negros.’