Philippines Recovery Efforts Led by Local Experts

by De La Salle University
Community and Project Stakeholders Plan for Estero
Community and Project Stakeholders Plan for Estero

      Key leaders from partner  Barangays 718, 719 and 720, Zone 78, Manila and  official representatives of project stakeholders (concerned government agencies and  De La Salle University (DLSU) – Manila being the Partner  Adopter of the estero, gathered  last November 2016  to  finalize the drafting of  the Environmental  Action Plan  for  the remaining  period of  2016 to  July 2017 for the Estero De Maytubig and Estero Fort San Antonio De Abad.

      Chairman Oscar Espiritu of Barangay 718 presented identified major activitites  for  the rehabilitation of Estero De Maytubig and Estero Fort San Antonio De  Abad viz. 1) Engineering, 2) Awareness Building / Information Dissemination, 3) Enforcement and Compliance to Relevant Environmental  Conservation and Protection laws - Supreme Court Mandamus, 4) Deputation of an Environmental Police, and  5) Potential Entrepreneurial activities for waste materials gathered.

      On the Engineering aspect, activities identified by the barangay leaders and project stakeholders  includes the  following: 1) establishment of  a Materials Recovery  System (cart fabrication, daily hauling of garbage by the community and the construction of a storage garbage segregation facility made of steel matting, and a staging area for the collected waste) facilitated  by the  Chairperson and the Barangay Council, 2) Dredging of Estero de Abad by the City Engineering office of the  Metro Manila Development Authority  and DPWH, with  the assistance of DLSU, 3) Installation of  a CCTV camera in specified garbage storage area and monitoring of hauled garbage, 4) Maynilad’s regular (quarterly) dislodging of septic tank, and 5) Estero Water Quality Monitoring  to be undertaken by the Environmental Management Bureau and DLSU.

      Another major activity identified by the group includes the conduct of environmental protection and conservation awareness building activities  such as house-to-house leafleting, barangay assembly and dialogue with community members, regular announcement through public address on environmental protection and conservation, urban and vertical gardening in coordination with the Bureau of Plant Industry, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Department of Agriculture and DLSU, Mural Painting and Poster and Slogan Making contest for the youth through the Department of Education’s Division of City School and  seminar on health and sanitation.

      The third major activity that the barangays plans to undertake in  close  coordination with the  barangay council and other  concerned agencies is enforcement of and compliance to Supreme Court Mandamus (e.g. adoption of the Solid Waste Management Barangay Ordinance, 100% waste segregation at source and segregated collection per waste collection and segregation  provisions, creation of waterways watch or River Warrior and the 24-hr. monitoring of the estero,  survey to determine areas illegally encroached and number of informal settlers along estero, percentage of estimated total area and number of illegal encroachments on water bodies that are permanently cleared) consistent with current laws and relocation provisions.

      To support initiatives on enforcement of relevant environmental conservation and protection laws such as of Republic Act (RA) No. 9003, RA 9275, the group further raised the need to deputize an environmental police. 

      Potential entrepreneurial activities were recognized  to  arise with the collection of plastic bottles, selling of collected plastic bottles gathered everyday by barangay street sweepers.

      The action plans crafted  during the November 2016  workshop sessions concretize the primary  objective of the Lasallian Environmental Sustainability and Governance (L-ENVISAGE) component which is to contribute to the transformation of communities and its ecosystems and to mainstream good governance towards environmental sustainability and resiliency. Specifically, these  activities support  the attainment of one of L-ENVISAGE’s milestones which is to restore the ecological services of Estero Fort San Antonio de Abad and Estero de Maytubig and raise public awareness on the intrinsic value of the estero.

Groundwork for the Planning Workshop
Groundwork for the Planning Workshop
Groundwork with Local Leaders
Groundwork with Local Leaders
Establishing Partnership for Estero Rehabilitation
Establishing Partnership for Estero Rehabilitation
Their share in the Estero Rehab initiative
Their share in the Estero Rehab initiative

DLSU-COSCA’s Partner Communities and Other Stakeholders Pilot test EM Mud Balls Technology to Help Improve Water Quality of  Nearby Esteros

      De La Salle  University’s (DLSU) efforts to participate in rehabilitating  its  nearby estero is one of its priority  contributions to  risk reduction and  climate change adaptation.  This initiative is a relevant cog of the Lasallian Environmental Sustainability and  Governance Component (L-ENVisage) of  DLSU’s UN Sustainable Development  Goals (SDG) Localization Project formally launched  on August 19, 2016.

     DLSU’s Center  for  Social Concern and Action (COSCA)  recognizes the  important  role that  esteros ( as contributory  streams to larger  waterways) play in the area of environment  such  as  in flood protection, pollutant filtering and  in ensuring  continuous water flow to  surface, among  others.  As a strategy, COSCA has partnered with seven pilot barangays in Leveriza, District V, Manila and with other stakeholders, concerned government  agencies (and  private institutions for resource  and  capacity building  requirements to  rehabilitate  and  respond  to the following identified concerns on both Estero Fort San Antonio De Abad and Estero de Maytubig: a) limited resource for general maintenance and discharge monitoring; b) poor solid waste management implementation; c) enforcement of relevant laws at both City and Barangay levels is  wanting; d) observed encroachment by formal and informal settlers; and e) noted general degree of neglect.   

      Also, DLSU formalized  partnership on August 20, 2016 with the Manila Bay S.U.N.S.E.T Partnership Program, Inc. (MBSPPI), a partnership  of  twenty-one (21) government and  private institutions committed  to protect and  clean-up the  coastal  area of Manila Bay, including its  tributaries and other  related  activities. Together with DLSU, are the following new members of the to the  Partnership:  1) the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB)-National Capital Region (NCR) Office, 2) Department of Public Works and Highways –NCR Office, 3) Maynilad Water Services, Inc. and 4) Villar Sipag at Tiyaga Foundation, Inc.    

      MBSPPI and LBP supported the Effective Microorganisms (EM)  Mudballs Technology workshop facilitated by Earth Venture, Inc.on September 17, 2016 aimed at improving the  water  quality  of Estero de San Antonio de Abad.  The said EM mudball dropping is  a pilot activity on the use  of  the EM technology on the two waterways.  Prior  to the mudball  workshop,  COSCA’s Ms. Terteen Omana, Development Specialist for  SDG- L-ENVisage facilitated  the  orientation of barangay  representatives  on   EM  Technology, Estero Rehabilitation  initiative  and  Climate  Change.   

       The EM  technology  utilizes  naturally occurring microorganisms which  are able to purify and revive nature.  It makes  use  of  effective microorganism activated solution (EMAS) in enhancing  and improving  water  quality thereby restoring  aquatic habitats and ecosystems.

       The  EM  Mudball making workshop and dropping activity was conducted to create an awareness among  community members of the EM technology as  a step to help improve  the  water  quality of the esteros.  The said activity was participated  by 18 DLSU-COSCA  Alternative  Learning  System (ALS) students, three (3) representatives from Barangays 720, 718 and  717, five (5) service personnel  from  DLSU, 15 trainer-facilitators  from Earth Ventures, Inc., 6  representatives  from the LBP, and  6 COSCA  personnel .     


 Advancing Advocacy  on  Disaster  Preparedness through the ASEAN Youth Volunteer Program

      Further in advancing  COSCA’s advocacy  on  disaster  preparedness, DLSU through COSCA   partnered with the Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, the University of the Philippines and the Ateneo de Manila University  for the ASEAN Youth Volunteer Programme (AYVP). The AYVP is a youth community leadership program mobilizing  volunteers aged 18 to 30 from across the 10 ASEAN member states and works with communities to develop innovative solutions to the social, cultural, economic and environmental challenges of the region while forging a sense of ASEAN identity.   The AYVP tapped local experts on disaster preparedness and  management such as the    Buklod Tao, Inc.  and Simbahan Lingkod ng Bayan. Twenty-five (25) ASEAN youth leaders completed a  month-long volunteer program on Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR).  DRR leaders were deployed in local communities implementing DRR programs. Twenty-five (25) of these participants were assigned to Buklod Tao’s Community-Based DRR Management Project along the vulnerable areas of  Banaba River (tributary of the Marikina River) San Mateo, Rizal.  Also, the student volunteers participated in various activities including community hazard mapping, ASEAN awareness orientation, soil composting, paddle making, development and posting of emergency preparedness materials, among others.

DLSU partners with institutions on Estero Rehab
DLSU partners with institutions on Estero Rehab
DLSU ALS students join the EM mud ball workshop
DLSU ALS students join the EM mud ball workshop
ESPs  share in the  EM mud ball dropping
ESPs share in the EM mud ball dropping
2016 ASEAN Youth Volunteer Program Participants
2016 ASEAN Youth Volunteer Program Participants

“Kaming nasa komunidad ang may responsibilidad na tulungan ang bawat isa kapag may disaster o panganib. Pero minsan wala kami magawa dahil sa kakulangan ng kakayahan at gamit (We, the community members have the responsibility to help each other whenever there is a disaster or threat. But sometime we are constraint in helping due to limited capacity and resources.)”. This is what the community members always say to us during our group discussion hopping. We believe and recognize as a center that communities play a major role in disaster preparedness and response.

Communities are considered frontlines and first receivers of any form of disaster; therefore, there is a need to increase their capacity on resiliency and safety. In this light, COSCA had adopted community-based disaster risk reduction and management (CBDRRM) approach to equip the community with proper knowledge and skills, and to strengthen linkage with other stakeholders. Under the Sustainable Development Goals Localization Project of DLSU, COSCA initially conducted DRRM training needs assessment of the seven (7) partner communities/Barangays in Leveriza, District 5, City of Manila to identity level of priorities. This aimed at the following: a) determine the level of knowledge and awareness of the Barangays/communities; and b) Identify areas of intervention and prioritization. A total of sixty nine (69) respondents with varying positions in the Barangay Council and community members participated in the DRRM training needs assessment. 

We partnered with the Center for Disaster Preparedness, a well-known non-government organization that has been raising capacities of different communities across the Philippines. This partnership will bring forth significant impact to the identified communities in Manila.

De La Salle University (DLSU) in partnership with local universities and schools from the ASEAN region are currently preparing for several Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DRRM) learning session events this 2016.


This May, DLSU together with Ateneo de Manila (ADMU) and Lyceum of the Philippines University (LPU) will host the University Mobility in Asia and the Pacific (UMAP) Camp. This Philippine leg is themed as “Building Environmental & Cultural Awareness in the Asia Pacific Region". Discussions and Structured Learning Exercises will revolve around topics on Climate Change, Climate Resiliency and Culture. One highlight of this activity is an environmental trip to Talim Bay, Lian, Batangas to showcase the Mangrove Forest Restoration Activities in the area and allow direct participation of the ASEAN students in planting selected Mangrove species. Ultimately, the event, hopes to teach the students critical the link between conserving Mangroves and Climate Resiliency in the coastal communities.   


Another activity, jointly implemented by DLSU, Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU), University of the Philippines (UP) and Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) and in partnership with Buklod Tao and Simbahan Lingkod ng Bayan to be held two weeks in August, will bring in 50 ASEAN students. The event is anchored on two objectives, one is to help the participants understand the different DRRM concepts using both global and local perspectives and the other, is to expose these same students to the DRRM realities in San Mateo (Rizal) and Payatas (Quezon City). Hopefully, these sessions will encourage the ASEAN participants to conceptualize a related project in their home countries.


Another event, this time in November and still organized by the same schools hope to bring in a total of 300 ASEAN faculty participants at the SM MOA to learn and share experiences in not only DRRM but also in other thematic areas of Community Engagement as well.

School staff helping in the relief efforts
School staff helping in the relief efforts

Typhoon Lando lashed several provinces in the Philippines last November 26, 2015 and left a total of 733,152 affected families in Regions I, II, II, IV-A, IV-B, and CAR. Over 130,000 houses were destroyed and more than 11 billion worth of infrastructure and agriculture were damaged1.

In response to the call for help, the Center for Social Concern and Action of DLSU participated in the emergency relief efforts together with De La Salle Zobel and La Salle Greenhills to help affected families in Casiguran, Aurora and various areas in Nueva Ecija. Further, the DLSU community was able to raise Php 20,000 cash donations.Relief items were extended to the Anti-APECO Farmers Group and Indigenous Groups in Casiguran Aurora as well as affected families in municipalities of Gabaldon, Jaen, and Laur in Nueva Ecija.

In light with the post-typhoon Lando, COSCA together with other La Salle Schools and De La Salle Philippines will conduct its validation activity in preparation for rehabilitation and recovery prospects, particularly in Casiguran, Aurora.

Student volunteers joining the relief operations
Student volunteers joining the relief operations

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Organization Information

De La Salle University

Location: Manila, NCR - Philippines
Project Leader:
Lourdes Melegrito
Director, Center for Social Concern and Action
Manila, National Capital Region Philippines

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