The project aims to provide economic incentives to local initiatives sustaining the flow of ecosystem services in the integrated but vulnerable landscape of the Cagayan de Oro (CDO) river basin (137,000 ha) in Mindanao, Philippines. The whole landscape had become undervalued and no longer has the potential value to provide ecosystem services (ES) due to the unsustainable land use, watershed degradation and climate change. The outcome of these factors had caused the area to become vulnerable and prone to more serious casualties caused by natural catastrophes like Typhoon Sendong (Washi) in 2011 and other supertyphoons, unable to fully rehabilitate, sustain and protect itself from such tragedies.

Environmental degradation being a major factor in disasters propelled the creation of sustainable and long term-solutions, which include forest management and a behavioral shift to the “new normal.” With this idea in mind, adoption of a river basin-wide Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES) is one of the strategic ways to restore, enhance and safeguard the continuing flow of ecosystem services, amongst which is flood control and adequate water supply. This will showcase an Ecosystem-based Adaptation (EbA) to vulnerability to disasters and a changing climate. PES program was born together with Valuing Ecosystem Services Together (VEST), an offshoot campaign aimed at engaging different sectors in the region to take part in this venture.


To reduce risks brought about by natural disasters in Northern Mindanao through the strengthening and rehabilitation of the whole landscape integrity ensuring continuous provision of ecological services. At the same time, it will provide due recognition and commensurate rewards of the indigenous communities intergenerational efforts on environmental and biodiversity conservation.

The project specifically aims to

  • Implement PES agreements based on the modalities created by Resources, Environment and Economics Center for Studies Inc (REECS) in Mt Kalatungan and expand the monitoring and evaluation (M&E) in the entire river basin;
  • Establish mechanisms for PES in the adjacent Mt Kitanglad with local communities as guardians and stewards of critical natural resources;
  • Facilitate policy lobbying of PES/EbA-related laws in the local government units; and
  • Provide assistance in the development and integration of PES in the Cagayan de Oro River Basin Master Plan.

Significance to community

  • Strengthens the DRRM in the local level, ensures ridge-to-reef rehabilitation;
  • Rewards economic incentives to our partner tribe and promotes cultural solidarity (“tulugan” as tribal hall and just compensation for forest guards);
  • Promotes sustainable development for the future of the tribe and people from the downstream; and
  • Underscores people’s participation to systematically avail ecosystem services (flooding control and adequate water supply).


In this project, a social mechanism for rewards will be developed to benefit local custodians and guardians of natural habitats and continuous provision of environmental services in Northern Mindanao. By scaling up the PES, we are clustering the target groups into the following:

Sellers > Fund Manger > Buyer
Ecosystem services: Flood control and Adequate water supply

The upstream indigenous peoples associations will be the "main sellers" of the ecological services:

  • For Mt Kalatungan, the members of MILALITTRA (Miarayon-Lapok-Lirongan-Tinaytayan Tribal Association) serve as the resource managers working in the sub-watershed in Batang; while 
  • For Mt Kitanglad, the Kitanglad-wide Council of Elders with the Tribal Guards (Kitanglad Guard Volunteers) serves as the sellers.

Xavier Science Foundation (XSF), a third-party fund manager, serves as an intermediary between the IP sellers and buyers of the ecosystem services. The funds will be centralized to the fund manager and the sellers will still provide a community development plan.

The role of the Cagayan de Oro River Basin Management Council (CDORBMC) is to oversee the overall impact of the PES implementation in the entire river basin. This will be composed of Dr Hilly Ann Roa-Quiaoit as the CDORMBC head secretariat, technical officer Analyn B Mejares, administrative officer Sue Andrey Ong from the PES team and selected experts of related disciplines (eg economist, agriculturist etc).  

There are five target sectors that benefit from these ecosystem services had been identified, namely, the corporations, cooperatives, schools, church and households. The conscious recognition on supporting the PES project would ensure the continuous flow of ecological services for their operation to succeed and sustain and introduce the PES method to the household level.

Project Management Team

Dr Hilly Ann Roa-Quiaoit
Project Team Leader|XU Vice President for Research and Social Outreach 

Analyn B Mejares
Technical Officer/Environmental Scientist/PES Expert

Sue Andrey C Ong
Project Assistant/Biologist

PES Social Marketing

Evans Rosauro I Yonson
Social Marketing Supervisor/Development Communication Expert 

Anthony Jacob C Karagdag
Social Marketing Associate/Graphic Designer

Stephen J Pedroza
Content Writer/Editor/Social Marketing Officer

IP Social Marketing

Ma Easterluna Canoy
Project Coordinator on IP Social Marketing
Executive Director of Kitanglad Integrated NGOs (KIN)

PES Team

Dominador D Decano
Team Leader/Speaker

Roland V Rivera
Marketing Officer/Speaker

Josephine Tulang- Decano
Finance, Admin and Marketing Officer/Speaker

Horacio Marcos Mordeno
Writer/Media Relations and Promotions Officer

Team of IP Speakers and Council of Elders

  • Datu Adolino L. Makapukaw – Lantapan       
  • Bae Adelina  D. Tarino - Malaybalay City
  • Datu Elito  Guinoay - Talakaag           
  • Datu Primo Toto - Talakag
  • Datu  Romeo Tagnoay - Talakag           
  • Datu  Leodie  Caare - Manolo Fortich
  • Datu Alfredo  Lake - Baungon               
  • Datu  Juvidy  Deconlay - Impasugong
  • Bae  Erlinda  Bonye - Malaybalay City           
  • Bae Edelita Sayongan - Libona