The University of the Philippines (UP) Mindanao and Davao del Norte State College (DNSC) held on 21 May 2021 an online Presentation of Outputs and Virtual Turnover of Maps of their project,“Vulnerability Assessment of Coastal Areas in Davao Gulf to Climate-related Hazards” for the funding agency, the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) under its DARE TO (Discovery-Applied Research and Extension for Trans/Inter-disciplinary Opportunities) Program.
Project Leader and UP Mindanao Professor Annabelle Novero presented the Project Overview and Summary of Accomplishments, naming the cities and municipalities involved, the trainings provided, the maps and publications produced, to CHED Senior Research Grants Officer Jamie Sese and local government officials who attended online.
UP Mindanao Chancellor Larry Digal in his message said, “Hopefully, these maps will help the local communities located along the Davao Gulf to understand and be aware of how climate change, human actions, and government efforts affect the overall health of our coastal resources, the stability of the fishery sector, and the livelihood conditions of local fishing communities.”
DNSC President Joy Sorrosa for her part said, “The recommendations will be the essence in the crafting of policies that will capacitate the local government units in prevention, mitigation, conservation, and sustainability measures to address the devastating impact of climate change. It is my fervent hope to utilize and steward the outputs of this project to contribute and provide solutions to the local government units for whatever climate-related issues we will have in the future.”
The project produced some 76 maps for 17 LGUs. The Natural Disaster Vulnerability Assessment Maps, Coastal Resource Vulnerability Assessment Maps, and Aquaculture Vulnerability Assessment Maps showed the areas with weaknesses. The Fishing Livelihood Maps, Bathymetry (depth) Maps, and Coastal Resource Maps showed the characteristics of the coastal resources. The project team also presented the End-User Licensing Agreement for the maps.
Hagonoy Mayor Franco Calida in his response said, “We are grateful to be part of this science-based geographical, physical, and economic assessment. We have five coastal barangays, and the growing uncertainties of climate change need continuing efforts to assist coastal areas and other areas in becoming resilient and climate-responsive. Through these assessments, we can protect our mangroves, our coral reefs, the economic situation in fisheries and agriculture or aquaculture, and the livelihood of our fisherfolks.”
In the online event, UP Mindanao assistant professors, Aileen Grace Delima and Rovi Gem Villame, discussed “Climate change effects on biodiversity” and “Water quality assessment,” respectively. DNSC assistant professors, Grace Guanzon and Cyril Tom Ranara, presented their “Ectoparasite assessment” and “Assessment of fisheries abundance (Catch-Per-Unit-of-Effort),” respectively. Project technical staff members also presented the surveys on coastal resources (mangroves, seagrass, and corals), bathymetry (underwater landscapes), the chlorophyll and sediment suspension, and the map-making process.
On 25 May, UP Mindanao Asst. Prof. Aurelia Gomez facilitated an online Policy Brief-Writing Workshop to equip local officials in policy-making.
Over the course of project implementation from June 2018 to May 2021, some 44 personnel from local government units took trainings in resource management: from the LGUs of Davao City, Digos City, Sta. Cruz, Padada, Malalag, Hagonoy, and Sulop in Davao del Sur Province; Tagum City, Panabo City, Samal City, and Carmen in Davao del Norte; Maco and Pantukan in Davao de Oro; and, Banaybanay, San Isidro, Lupon, and Governor Generoso in Davao Oriental. Academic personnel from UP Mindanao, DNSC, and the University of Southeastern Philippines were also trained.
The project also produced two scientific articles, “Distribution and Abundance of Seagrasses in the Southwest Coast of Davao Oriental, Philippines” and “Assessment of mangrove species diversity in Banaybanay, Davao Oriental, Philippines,” that were published in reputable journals, with more articles completed for publication.
Three photographic books were printed and copyrighted, namely: “Mangroves and Seagrasses of the Coastal Municipalities in Davao Region”; “Catch-Per-Unit-Effort of Various Fishing Gears and Species Caught in Davao Gulf: The Aquaculture Component”; and, “Vulnerability Assessment of Coastal Areas in Davao Gulf to Climate-related Hazards: Ectoparasite Aquaculture Component”.
(This article, written by Mr. Rene A. Estremera, was first published in the UP System Website on June 10, 2021)