Left photo: PENRO Jose Cleo Cary F. Colis presents the rationale for the DENR 7 Consultation Workshop with CSOs in cebu City. Right photo: Joining the photo opportunity are key officials from DENR 7 CSOs/Stakeholders, including CRERDEC Center Head Jose Isidro Michael T. Padin. Photo credit: DENR 7

Each of us has a role to play in managing our resources sustainably. We must take action without delay for generations to stay!

The Coastal Resources and Ecotourism Research, Development and Extension Center (CRERDEC) provided technical support and recommendations during the Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) Consultation Meeting for the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Region 7 Fiscal Year 2024 Budget Proposals.

The consultation workshops held on March 3, 2023, at Graziene Tres Building in Poblacion, Argao, Cebu, and on March 7, 2023, at Bai Hotel in Mandaue City, Cebu, respectively, aimed to recognize stakeholders’ role in the budget process and improve transparency and accountability in public fund allocation. The Community Environment and Natural Resources Office in Argao (CENRO Argao) and CENRO Cebu City spearheaded the consultation meetings, which gathered insights from CSOs as DENR’s partners. By involving stakeholders in the budget process, the DENR hopes to ensure that public funds are used efficiently and effectively in response to the National Budget Call for FY 2024.

CRERDEC Center Head Jose Isidro Michael T. Padin and Supervising Science Research Specialist Reynaldo L. Lanuza joined stakeholders from various organizations, including National Government Agencies (NGAs), Local Government Units (LGUs), academes, business sectors, religious groups, and People’s Organizations to discuss programs, projects, and activities (PPAs) that need to be sustained and included in the FY 2024 budget proposal.

The preparation of a budget proposal is subject to several crucial factors, including relevance, strategy and delivery, performance management, costing, monitoring and evaluation, accountability structure, and risk management. The workshop also identified new spending (PPAs) to improve service delivery and customer satisfaction.

Nine breakout sessions covered forest management and protection, protected area management, water resource management, coastal and marine environment management (CMEM), biodiversity resources conservation, mineral resources, lands management, air and water quality improvement, and waste management. These nine nature-based programs of the DENR are in harmony with the nature-based solution approach of Secretary Maria Antonia Yulo Loyzaga.

The CMEM group in Argao recommended resource assessment of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), updating MPA management plans, capacity building on MPA management, harmonizing protection and management strategies, and providing technical assistance in resource assessment and data analysis. The CMEM group in Cebu suggested using software for fish identification as part of MPA Management. They also recommended the inclusion of Water Quality Management (WQM) in the legislated National Integrated Protected Area System (NIPAS) and equipment for the oil spill collection.

The Biodiversity Resources Conservation (BRC) group in Argao suggested assessing the carrying capacity (CarCap) of key biodiversity areas proposed for ecotourism management. The group also pointed out additional water quality monitoring stations for critical water bodies.

Overall, the consultation meeting with CSOs was considered an effective platform for fostering collaboration among stakeholders and identifying crucial steps toward achieving sustainable management of the environment and natural resources in the region. R. Lanuza & S. Lanticse