Thirteen local water utilities from General Santos City and nearby municipalities of Tupi, Polomolok, and Tampakan in South Cotabato signed agreements on December 6, 2019 to adopt payment for ecosystem services (PES) schemes that would benefit the Mount Matutum Protected Landscape in southern Mindanao.
More than 50 business owners, entrepreneurs and operators in these areas had signified during the previous year their interest and buy-in to establish their respective PES mechanisms. These enterprises included local plantations like Stanfilco and Lapanday, locally run water utilities, agri-tourism industries, and agri-livestock and poultry farms. A series of meetings and consultations had been held to discuss the establishment of PES systems that would generate funding for protection and conservation activities in Mount Matutum. This led to the successful signing of PES agreements.
The agreements encapsulate the rates of payment, creation of a PES governance body, allocation of PES fund, institutional arrangements for payments, account establishments and reporting systems, as well as the passing of an ordinance that would allow all local water utility enterprises to contribute to the PES fund determined by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. These reflect Protect Wildlife project’s strategic approach to intensify internally generated funding for biodiversity conservation, protected areas, forest lands, and coastal and marine areas in the Philippines. (PWP/ Meg Yandoc)