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Lanuza’s PSF proposal reflects good local governance

By Janssen Mozar Martinez

After the two-day People’s Survival Fund (PSF) field appraisal in Del Carmen, Siargao Island, ICSC joined officials from the PSF secretariat and Municipal Development Fund Office (MDFO) in travelling farther south of the CARAGA region to the quiet surfing town of Lanuza, Surigao del Sur.

We were happily welcomed by Mayor Salvacion Azarcon herself, other municipal government officials, and representatives of local and indigenous peoples’ organizations. They were excited to learn that their town’s proposal is among the first batch of PSF proposals to be included in the approval pipeline.

Lanuza’s proposal, titled Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Response (Ridge-to-Reef Approach) as Adaptation Mechanism to Resiliency, showcases different but interconnected components: the management of their watersheds, ecosystem, and forests, plus livelihood programs and capacity development. Their local government aims to adapt to the impacts of climate change in Lanuza’s agricultural and forest lands while also strengthening their citizens’ resilience by improving their existing sources of income.

The PSF appraisal team visits Sitio Ipil, Barangay Agsam’s nipa wine processing facility, one of the beneficiaries of Lanuza’s People’s Survival Fund proposal.

The PSF appraisal team visits Sitio Ipil, Barangay Agsam’s nipa wine processing facility, one of the beneficiaries of Lanuza’s People’s Survival Fund proposal.

During the appraisal discussions and field visits, I couldn’t help but notice the latent qualities in Lanuza’s proposed adaptation program which exhibit good local governance. The municipality recognizes the negative effects of both climate change and human-led resource exploitation, prompting them to craft a People’s Survival Fund proposal with a ridge-to-reef approach aimed at addressing existing and imminent risks.

For example, the watershed, ecosystem, and forest management components of Lanuza’s PSF proposal are meant to help them adapt to projected droughts and sea level rise, as well as to mitigate flooding in low-lying areas. The rest of the proposal aims to increase their income from nipa sugar- and wine-making as well as eco-tourism. In addition, the active participation of indigenous peoples in the management of their natural resources shows the municipality’s dedication to inclusive governance.

Lanuza Mayor Salvacion Azarcon (in red dress) joins a breakout group session with indigenous leaders and barangay captains.

Lanuza Mayor Salvacion Azarcon (in red dress) joins a breakout group session with indigenous leaders and barangay captains.

Despite being an adaptation-specific fund, crafting a People’s Survival Fund proposal reveals the type of governance that the municipality’s leadership practices. It requires beyond-business-as-usual perspectives in order to adapt to climate change effects. And achieving this requires the participation of all stakeholders—all of whom are vulnerable to climate change, in one way or another.

Lanuza’s leadership has successfully done this, based not only on their sound proposal but also from what I have recently witnessed.

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