Monday, December 18, 2017
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  • Jaime V. Ongpin Foundation, Inc. (JVOFI)


    Protecting and Defending the Amburayan River Basin and Watershed through Good Governance and Active Indigenous People’s Participation



    The project will bring together concerned stakeholders in the management of the Amburayan River Basin and Watershed, and institutionalize a collaborative agreement that would ensure the protection of indigenous people’s rights as well as the interests of all stakeholders to protect the integrity of the watershed.


    Benguet Province, Ilocos Sur and La Union


    3 years


    2,179 IP households directly affected by Amburayan River


    The Amburayan River is a critical water resource that winds through three provinces and nine municipalities in Northern Luzon. There are competing demands and interests in the river, including a recent proposal from a private company to build a hydro-electric dam. Already, conflicts over the shared water resource have arisen and “turfing” problems beset the development and rehabilitation of the river system.


    USAID, through the Philippine-American Fund, supports Jaime V. Ongpin Foundation, Inc. (JVOFI) in bringing together various stakeholders in the management of the Amburayan River Basin and Watershed, and institutionalize a collaborative mechanism that would ensure the protection of indigenous people’s rights as well as the interests of all stakeholders.

    The project establishes the Amburayan River Council to govern the extraction and utilization of water and watershed resources. An integrated water resource management plan is being formulated to govern the overall development and conservation of the river and its neighboring watersheds. The project also installs a Monitoring and Evaluation System to keep track of the council’s performance and assist in improving its operations.


    JVOFI formed a technical working group (TWG) that included 15 local government units (LGUs) and other stakeholders to provide a governance mechanism for the protection of the Amburayan Watershed.

    An inter-regional core TWG meeting formulated the Amburayan River Project work and financial plan which identifies among others, sustainability mechanisms to jointly protect Amburayan. In support of this sustainability plan were commitments from partner agencies like the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Region I, National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Region I and CAR and PLGU-Ilocos Sur to host quarterly meetings of the stakeholders even after project end. 

    Separate sustainability planning workshops were conducted for Regions 1 and CAR to draft the five-year LGU compliance scheme based on the draft 10-year WQMA plans for LARS and UARS.

    In the monitoring of the 59,300 assorted seedlings planted in 2015 and 2016, 59 percent survived and were being nurtured by the communities where these were planted. Around 250 sacks of compost were provided to selected communities to improve the status of these trees. Also, a total of 74 sets of forest firefighting tools composed of axe, pick, shovel, fire swatter, back pack sprayer, rake, hand gloves, hard hats, boots and raincoats were provided to 26 Peoples’ Organizations. Moreover, three new nurseries were established with selected communities in Palina, Kibungan; Duplas and Bulalaan, Sudipen; and Banga, Sugpon. Two school nurseries in Atok and Bakun, Benguet were provided nets, planting materials and seeds. A total of 78 Deputy Environment and Natural Resources Officers (DENROs) were provided with one set each of Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) consisting of rain boots, rain coats, rechargeable flashlights, and hard hats.

    A booklet on Best Practices was printed as reference for similar projects. A project impact evaluation emphasized the uniqueness of the project as the first CSO-initiated WQMA which traverses two regions and three provinces with different ethno-cultural backgrounds. It also underlined the ability of the project to convene various stakeholders. It underscored the importance of documenting the lessons learned and the added value of shared responsibility in protecting Amburayan River. 

    JVOFI organized stakeholder sustainability events in Vigan City and Baguio City that led to the approval of the LARS and UARS 10-year WQMA Plans. It has also paved the way to create a stakeholders’ resolution for an annual joint meeting of the LARS and UARS Governing Boards that was proposed to be included in the DENR Administrative Orders. These orders will designate the Amburayan River as a WQMA. TheSustainability Memorandum of Agreement signed by the DENR, EMB, and the PLGUs of Benguet, La Union, and Ilocos Sur on June 27, 2017 shall ensure the continuing protection of the Amburayan River.


    The Jaime V. Ongpin Foundation, Inc. (JVOFI) was created in 1980 as a corporate social arm of Benguet Corporation. It pursues development programs in Enterprise Development, Ecological Enhancement, Resource Generation and Management, and Capacity Building within its target communities in Northern Luzon.
    The Foundation has likewise implemented projects in Disaster Risk Reduction, Environmental Management and Protection, and Watershed Development and Management. JVOFI has worked with the provincial governments of Benguet and La Trinidad, academic organizations, the Cordillera Network and other CSOs in the Benguet-La Trinidad Area.
    It was awarded a 5-year PCNC certification in 2012.
    Corazon S. de la Paz-Bernardo
    Vice Chairperson, JVOFI
    27 Sofia de Veyra St. corner Road 2, Quezon Hill, Baguio City