The Interdisciplinary Studies Center on Integrated Natural Resources and Environment Management (INREM) of the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) project entitled “Integration of Traditional and Modern Bioproduction Systems for a Sustainable and Resilient Future Under Climate and Ecosystems Changes (ITMoB)”, funded by Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (DOST-PCAARRD), organized the Pagsanjan-Lumban Watershed kick-off meeting on 13 December 2021 at 1:00 PM. The virtual event, which aimed to introduce the project and strengthen the partnership between UPLB and its invited participants, was attended by more than forty (40) project implementers and partner stakeholders from various sectors including LGUs, national government agencies, academe, and non-government organizations.
The program was opened by the Rationale of the Event delivered by Dr. Fernando C. Sanchez, Jr., former UPLB Chancellor and a Professor at the College of Agriculture of Food Science, wherein he provided a brief overview of the project and of the kick-off program. Mr. Marlon Tobias of the Provincial Government-Environment and Natural Resources Office (PG-ENRO) on behalf of Laguna Governor Hon. Ramil Hernandez reiterated in his Welcome Remarks that the provincial government of Laguna is in full support of the implementation of the ITMoB project. The Dean of the UPLB-College of Forest and Natural Resources, Associate Professor Marlo D. Mendoza and the Deputy Executive Director of PCAARRD, Dr. Feliciano G. Calora Jr. both acknowledge and hope for the continuous active participation and assistance of the attendees to the project in their succeeding messages. This was followed by the presentation of the project by its Project Leader and UPLB Professor Dr. Juan M. Pulhin. The comprehensive presentation highlighted the project objectives and its expected impacts and benefits as well as the areas of collaboration with the invited stakeholders towards the common goal of a resilient watershed and productive communities under the threats of climate and ecosystem changes.
After the presentation, responses of key partners from various sectors were solicited to ensure understanding among stakeholders for a smooth and efficient implementation of the project. Dr. Francis Beltran of Southern Luzon State University on behalf of its University President Dr. Doracie B. Zoleta-Nantes; For. Melvin Lalican of DENR PENRO-Laguna on behalf of For. Ronilo Salac; Mr. Jess Fortu of Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA); For. Vincent Concio of National Power Corporation (NPC); and For. Venerando Garcia of CENRO Sta. Cruz all expressed their strong support and commitment towards its successful completion, regarded its timeliness and significance to the communities, and their willingness to use and adopt its expected outputs in crafting plans and policies.
The highlights of the program and the next steps of the project was synthesized by Dr. Rex Victor O. Cruz, former UPLB Chancellor and Professor, who emphasized the need for collaboration henceforth among key stakeholders as critical factor in bringing the project into fruition. The meeting was concluded by a Closing Remarks given by Hon. Milbert Oliveros the Municipal Mayor of Cavinti, Laguna.
The kick-off meeting was moderated by Dr. Lorena L. Sabino and Asst. Prof. Liezl B. Grefalda of the Department of Social Forestry and Forest Governance (DSFFG) of UPLB College of Forestry and Natural Resources (CFNR) and members of ITMoB project team.