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RBCO conducted its Year-End Assessment and Planning Workshop for Calendar Year 2021 at the Best Western Metro Clark Hotel in Angeles City, Pampanga last December 1 to 3, 2021. The event was a hybrid activity with participants from Regions I, CAR, III, and IV-A physically present. The rest of the Regions participated virtually. Participants were permanent and alternate regional focal persons, officers, and RBCO staff.

ED Gorospe presenting the thrusts and directions of RBCO

RBCO Executive Director Nelson V. Gorospe pointed out RBCO’s courses of action for the future that include: operationalization of the River Basin Integrated Information Management System (RBIIMS), preparation of project proposals for hydro-meteorological instrumentation, continuing review of river basin master plans especially those considered as a part of the Task Force Build Back Better (TF BBB) sites (Marikina and Bicol River Basins), and assessment of River Basin Organizations (RBOs) through Training Needs Assessment (TNA) and training design in coordination with the Human Resource Development Service (HRDS). Director Gorospe also mentioned RBCO’s role as Project Management Office/Focal Office of the GIZ-assisted Ecosystem-based management and ecosystem services valuation in two river basins in the Philippines (E2RB), ADB-TA 5398 entitled “Investing in Climate Change Adaptation through Agroecological Landscape Restoration” and Climate Resilient Flood Management Project in Leyte.

Regional offices presented their respective year-end assessment reports, followed by an open forum. The common issue of these regional offices is the low percentage of accomplishments due to the travel restrictions brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, difficulty in organizing meetings due to the upcoming election period, and lack of budget for office operations. Another issue is the lack of means of verification (MOVs) for the different Projects/Plans/Activities (PPAs) of these offices in terms of its alignment to the River Basin Master Plans (RBMP). It was also brought out that there are outdated Master Plans that are not climate-responsive in the RBMP.

To address the issues and concerns raised, the following were the recommendations: (1) increase the involvement of NEDA, DPWH, DA, and other concerned agencies to increase the effectiveness of the RBMP; (2) updating of the River Basin Integrated Information Management System (RBIIMS) was also recommended to allow the ease of access and dissemination of the RBMP; The Policy and Planning Service (PPS) encouraged the participants to update their Work and Financial Plan (WFP) in order to increase their respective operational budget. In addition, the regional focal persons were encouraged to highlight the biodiversity, water quality, and waste management monitoring in the river basins.

Year-End Assessment participants pose for a group picture

On the second day, Director Ric G. Enriquez of HRDS gave a brief message on possible HRDS and RBCO areas of cooperation followed by a Training Needs Assessment (TNA) conducted by For. Wilson E. Henson, Chief, Training and Development Division (TDD). The purpose of the TNA is to determine the gap between the required and existing competencies for river basin focal persons.

For. Eddie Abugan, Jr., Chief, Project Management Division of the Foreign Assisted and Special Projects Service (FASPS) shared the ongoing and pipeline projects that covered the river basins nationwide and also encouraged the focal persons to prepare project proposals for possible funding. Lastly, the Regions presented their updated WFPs based on the earlier presentations. (Alfredo P. Aquino III/Lorraine Anne E. Quiñones)