The Consultant Team fielded by PRIMEX to conduct the Final Performance Evaluation (FPE) of the Biodiversity and Watersheds Improved for Stronger Economy and Ecosystem Resilience (B+WISER) Program shared their key findings with selected officials of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) during a debriefing session held on 10 January 2019 at the Forest Management Bureau (FMB). A learning event with stakeholders from the private sector, civil society, and five project sites was held in the afternoon.
Both activities were part of PRIMEX’s deliverable to USAID Philippines, which funded B+WISER from 2013 to 2018. The project was designed to address the causes of forest and watershed disturbance and biodiversity loss. The FPE Team conducted the evaluation from July 2018 to January 2019. USAID Philippines also engaged PRIMEX from September 2015 to January 2016 to conduct the B+WISER Mid-term Evaluation.
The Debriefing with DENR and Learning Event aimed to help participants gain a deeper awareness and understanding of B+WISER achievements, particularly the Lawin system. It also identified their organizations’ ongoing activities that support Lawin implementation. During the workshop, participants determined what future actions they could take to strengthen the implementation of Lawin in their respective communities/areas or jurisdiction.
Ms. Elvira C. Ablaza, PRIMEX President and CEO and B+WISER FPE Project Director, congratulated DENR for the successful implementation of the project.
“Special mention goes to those in DENR, who believed in the innovative approach to forest and biodiversity protection through the LAWIN system and served as ‘champions’ of the Program. USAID also deserves recognition for pioneering new approaches to forest and biodiversity protection, as well as the provision of other ecosystem services, in the country on a national scale. The lessons from B+WISER implementation will serve as good design considerations for similar USAID initiatives in the future,” said Ablaza.
Political will as one of the keys to changing forest patrolling in the country
Dr. Lope A. Calanog, B+WISER FPE Team Leader, spearheaded the coordination of activities with DENR counterparts. FMB Director Nonito M. Tamayo chaired the debriefing which was attended by 17 participants.
“Lawin has changed the way forest protection is being done in the country. Even my own perspective of forest patrolling has changed,” said Tamayo. One of the obvious reasons for the success was the support provided by the DENR Secretary to patrol officers. He shared his hope that, in the future, other Secretaries will continue the same initiative.
In the afternoon, stakeholders from Cordillera Administrative Region, Region IVA, and Region X (Davao Region) – shared their current and future initiatives to support Lawin implementation. DENR Assistant Regional Director for Operations in CAR informed that they have started a study to expand the application of LAWIN system to include natural hazards (e.g., landslides). Hence, there is a great potential for LAWIN system to expand its coverage of operation to encompass the broader mandate of DENR in managing and protecting the country’s environmental and natural resources.
Inputs from the activities were summarized and integrated in the final evaluation report which PRIMEX submitted to USAID Philippines.
The PRIMEX FPE Team was composed of the following specialists: Dr. Lope A. Calanog, Team Leader; Mr. Luis P. Eleazar, Senior Evaluation Specialist; Dr. Diomedes A. Racelis, Biodiversity and Watershed Management Specialist; Dr. Imelda G. Pagtolun-an, Statistician; and Ms. Lourdes Margarita A. Caballero, Junior Evaluation Specialist. Oversight supervision of the Team’s activities was provided by Ms. Elvira C. Ablaza, PRIMEX President and CEO, in her capacity as Project Director assisted by Mr. Leo R. Pura, PRIMEX Vice President for Technical Services, Project Manager; Ms. Jo Ann V. Ativo, Technical Assistant, and Ms. Ma. Kathrina C. Cada, Administrative Assistant.