1996 Haribon Foundation Annual Report

1996 Annual Report

IN 1996, the Haribon Foundation found itself at the crossroads -- looking back at its glorious, and sometimes tumultuous, past while looking ahead to chart its course in a far different and uncertain future. The scenario is much different today than it was in 1990, when Haribon, in its first strategic assessment and planning, formulated its 5-year mission statement. With declining funds -- multilateral and bilateral -- to fund environmental programs in the Philippines in favor of other less developed countries in Asia and emerging Eastern Europe, and growing competition from a number of emerging environmental groups doing conservation work, Haribon faces far greater challenges today to make itself relevant in the national and local environmental scene.

Results from the 1995 strategic assessment and planning sessions highlighted the need for Haribon to identify and develop its niche in the environmental movement where its identified strengths and expertise can be magnified to provide greater impact in pursuing its vision, mission and goals. Biodiversity conservation, in both terrestrial and seascape ecosystems, will continue to be a major thrust of the organization for the next five years, with particular emphasis in the empowerment and participation of local communities in conservation. As a conservation tool, Integrated Protected Area Management under the National Integrated Protected Area System (NIPAS) defines the landscape upon which Haribon will design and implement its programs on biodiversity conservation.

The last five years were characterized by model-building activities that resulted in tangible successes in our pilot sites in San Salvador Island and the Mt. Isarog National Park. Both projects were initiated in the early 1990ís during the Debt-for-Nature-Swap Program. These pilot sites owe their successes to strong local organizations with built-in capabilities and commitment in sustainable resource management. The San Salvador Island model on Community-Based Coastal Resource Management was replicated in other sites in Batangas, Pangasinan, and Quezon and has been the subject of visits -- and inspiration -- for fisherfolks yearning for similar changes and benefits in their own coastal environment. While in terrestrial protected area management, the experiences and lessons learned in the Mt. Isarog National Park Conservation Project drew wide interest and provided valuable lessons for NGOs working in protected areas.

The Next Five Years -- Conservation Through People

The next five years will build on the successes gained in our pilot sites and continue the expansion and replication of these models to other areas with high conservation value throughout the Philippines. And, as the demand for on-site conservation increases, so must Haribon respond through grassroots approaches to enhance and sustain conservation impact. Enhancing impact requires a refocusing of our efforts based on proven strategies and expanding on the initial successes to achieve the strategic spread -- both geographic and demographic -- and to create the critical mass supportive of conservation. This may be achieved through the scaling up of activities emanating from so-called "demonstration" sites which may include a variety of strategies -- e.g. model replication, on-site expansion, dissemination of learning, technology and skills through training programs; and policy advocacy. The implementation of these strategies whenever appropriate constitutes Haribonís mission for the next five years.

1996 -- In Retrospect

Integrated Conservation and Development

Haribonís community organizing and development program has been geared towards the establishment and expansion of Community-Based Resource Management Systems in its pilot sites in Zambales, Pangasinan, Camarines Sur and Bohol. Integrated conservation and development necessitates the adoption of mutli-disciplinary approaches to address a wider number of issues central to conservation. Already, existing projects point to this direction.
In San Salvador Island, Zambales, an island-wide livelihood development program will be designed and implemented beginning 1997 that will provide for the sustainable development of the island. In Pangasinan, community organizing and formation of local organizations will expand beyond the four municipalities in Bolinao to bring the entire Western Lingayen Gulf and its rich marine resources under coastal management. In Mt. Isarog, Camarines Sur, Haribon field staff, in collaboration with the local federation, will organize communities in the remaining 19 municipalities surrounding Mt. Isarog to implement micro-projects to effectively conserve 10,000 hectares of tropical forests. In 1996, a micro-lending program to support small-scale livelihood projects that are compatible with conservation was launched for communities residing in the park. In Jetafe, Bohol, the seahorse project, which initially focused on seahorse research and conservation in 1994, will evolve into a municipal-wide coastal resource management program to address threats to its marine resources. In addressing the cyanide issue, the Aquarium Fish Gatherers Federation of the Philippines, a peoples federation organized by and affiliated with Haribon, will expand its net training activities to Visayas and Mindanao, and organize communities in their respective localities.
Thus, as seen from the direction these projects have taken, there is evidence of expanding and disseminating the conservation agenda to a wider area and to a wider audience.


Ongoing research is geared toward establishing a database useful for future conservation work. The results of the ongoing study on important bird areas in the Philippines undertaken by Haribon-Birdlife International started in 1996 will provide a reasonable indication of the biodiversity status of a broad number of sites, most of which are unstudied, but potentially rich and possessing high conservation value. And overlaid with vegetation maps and community profiles, these biodiversity "hotspots" provide valuable inputs to the selection of proactive sites for conservation or in influencing country strategies for biodiversity conservation. Results of the study will prove valuable, not only for Haribon, but also for donors, NGOs, multilateral and bilateral agencies implementing biodiversity conservation


The transfer of skills, knowledge and appropriate technology on biodiversity conservation and resource management is important in expanding the pool of biodiversity and resource managers throughout the country. The design and delivery of training programs to NGO on-site implementors, LGU officials, environmental planners and training organizations will be pursued to multiply and expand the pool of capable conservation implementors.

In February, 1996, Haribon developed and implemented an exceptionally rated capability-building program in protected area management for NGO partners of the Foundation for Philippine Environment (FPE). A national course on Integrated Coastal Management developed and implemented by Haribon and its partners beginning 1996, will continue to be delivered to coastal managers throughout the regions.

Paralegal methods to enforce environmental laws to protect remaining natural resources and to assert community rights is a key to safeguarding areas of high conservation value through vigilant participation of local groups. The Tanggol-Kalikasan Program is tasked to implement the paralegal training activities (PLTs) for varied audiences - NGOs, Pos and Local government officials - in different provinces to increase awareness and improve enforcement of environmental laws and to assist communities in litigation proceedings. In 1997, Tanggol-Kalikasan will train DENR lawyers on alternative modes in resolving disputes to expedite resolution of cases outside the bureaucratic and red tape-prone court systems. These capability-building programs will be continued and improved upon in the long term.

These capability building efforts will be complemented by those of peoples organizations, organized and formed by Haribon, but are now independent and running projects on their own. For example, the Pederasyon ng Mag-aakwaryum ng Pilipinas (PMP), a federation of aquarium fish gatherers, will continue to provide training courses on alternatives to cyanide use for aquarium fishing using environment-friendly barrier nets to other fishermen in many remote parts of the Philippines. Similar initiatives were undertaken by local organizations in Mt. Isarog and Mabini, Batangas where locally conceived projects have been proposed, funded and undertaken on their own with minimal assistance from Haribon. Hence, we are proud to assert that in our sites, community empowerment has realized its full potential and is being utilized to benefit conservation.

Policy Advocacy

On the national scene, Haribon will continue to maintain its presence in policy-making bodies such as the Philippine Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD) and in the networks where its contribution is recognized. Haribon would continue to advocate for environmentally sound policies both at the national, regional and community levels. It is recognized that sound integration and analysis of environmental data is the key to the formulation of a sustainable development agenda. Hence, Haribon will provide policy inputs through research, analysis and validation activities for identified priority issues.

Already, Haribon has provided substantial recommendations in the rules and regulations governing:

  1. Community-based Forest Management Agreements
  2. Environmental Impact Assessment
  3. Devolution Rules and Regulation
  4. Fisheries Code
  5. Renewable Energy
  6. Biodiversity Conventions
On the local level, community-led advocacy was supported by Haribon as in the formulation of municipal fish ordinances for Ragay Gulf and on the coastal development plan for Bolinao.

In the years ahead, Haribon will continue to be an active player in the NGO movement by participating in discussions pertaining to sustainable development and in issues with wide implications to the environment. Haribon will reach out to sectors that seek substantial participation in the discussions particularly on Agenda 21.


The roster of Haribon members has expanded to include schools and conservation groups in other areas in the Philippines and requests for new chapters have been received but stymied by geographical and communications limitations. However, the opportunities brought forth by cyberspace, e.g. e-mail and the internet, offer a venue to consolidate members and facilitate discussions and networking.

Initiatives by private groups to launch micro-projects on conservation were supported in 1996, and will continue to be encouraged by Haribon. A clam-seeding project initiated by former Haribon members to restock the sea with the endangered giant clams was supported by Haribon in collaboration with other institutions in a successful clam-deployment activity in Anilao, Batangas in November 15, 1996. In a separate activity, volunteer scuba divers and Haribon members assisted the local community in San Teodoro, Batangas in deploying marker buoys for their marine sanctuary in Nov. 24, 1996.

In November 1996, Haribon became a full partner of Birdlife International in signing ceremonies held in Coimbature, India commemorating the death anniversary of world-renowned bird conservationist Salim Ali. Birdwatching activities among members launched in 1985 will be continued to provide the venue for members to foster fellowship and nature appreciation. Birdwatching clubs in different schools will be formed to create local awareness on the state of Philippines birds. Student members will be gathered in Eco-camps to discuss and share ideas, philosophies and insights on the environmental movement.

Haribon chapters are located in the University of the Philippines - Diliman, Manila and Los Banos, Miriam College, Central State University, University of Santo Tomas, Philippine Christian University in Cavite, Mindanao State University - Iligan, and Haribon-Palawan.

The Organization

The success of Haribon can be attributed to the integrated approach which pools and synergizes the different disciplines -- science and research, community organizing, environmental law -- under one organization. An assemblage of interesting persuasions -- natural scientists, social workers, trainers, lawyers, entrepreneurs -- provide broad but deep insights contributing to the refinement of approaches, concepts and theories underlying resource management. This has been Haribonís strength and its diversity will remain essential for the implementation of approaches that are integrative and multi-disciplinary.


General Assembly
Board of Trustees
Dr. Reynaldo M. Lesaca
Mr. Edgardo Tongson
Executive Director
  • Ms. Cristi Nozawa
    Director for Special Programs
  • Ms. Judith Reyes
  • Mayrose Balungay
  • Project Development
Atty. Ipat Luna-Severino
Tanggol Kalikasan
Mr. Albert Salamanca
Science and Research Development
  • Mr. Jon Villasper
    Resource Mapping
Membership and Chapter Development Mr. Albert Dizon
Community Organizing and Development Program

1996 Haribon Foundation Annual Report