You are on page 1of 8

Capili EB, ACS Ibay and JRT Villarin, 2005. Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation on Philippine Coasts.

Proceedings of the International Oceans 2005 Conference. 19-23 September 2005, Washington D.C., USA.
Pp. 1-8.

Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation on Philippine Coasts


E. B. Capili
klima Climate Change Center, Manila Observatory
Ateneo de Manila University Campus, Loyola Heights
Quezon City, Philippines 1108

A. C. S. Ibay
klima Climate Change Center, Manila Observatory
Ateneo de Manila University Campus, Loyola Heights
Quezon City, Philippines 1108

J. R. T. Villarin
Xavier University, Corrales Avenue
Cagayan de Oro City, Philippines, 9000

Abstract - The Philippine archipelago, which has one of the changes in our climate system over a period of time [27].
longest coastlines in the world, will not be spared of the adverse This includes both natural (e.g. circulation patterns, El Niño
impacts of sea-level rise and extreme climate events that are phenomena) and anthropogenic (greenhouse gas emissions)
expected to happen in a warmer world. This study aims to causes. These processes result in the production of heat-
review climate change impacts on Philippine coastal
communities and to set directions for possible adaptation
trapping greenhouse gases or GHGs released in the
measures on both local and national levels. The erratic changes atmosphere of which carbon dioxide (CO2) makes the largest
in the climate system have affected various coastal ecosystem percentage. Changes in our climate translate to temperature
and communities. Among which coral bleaching, changes in rise affecting the planet’s various dynamic processes.
productivity, changes in plankton dynamics, alterations in
seagrass and sea weed reproduction patterns, shoreline erosion A change in climate will affect ecosystems especially the
and retreat, changes in trophic dynamics as well as aggravation terrestrial and aquatic. One critical area that will most likely
of marine diseases are just a few. Apparently, the most be susceptible is the coastal zone. Most countries in mid-
significant impact is on coastal fisheries yield and community latitudes or near the equator are composed of coastal
welfare. Existing climate change initiatives in the country
include Integrated Coastal Zone Management System (ICZM),
systems. The Philippines, found in the Indo-Pacific area, is
coastal policies and regulations (e.g. Fisheries Code), disaster composed of 32,400 kms of discontinuous coastline [20]. It
management strategies among others. However, there is lack of is an archipelago made of 7,100 islands and considered as a
integration for these initiatives in the context of climate change. haven for various reef and reef-associated flora and fauna.
Several points were raised as suggestions and solutions. An Most of the people living in coastal areas are highly
improved network of strategies should be created and a multi- dependent on coastal fishing, seaweed farming, and
sectoral approach should be adapted. Macro and micro-level mangrove lumber. The country’s coral reefs provide annual
adaptation measures should be defined and evaluated to ensure economic benefits estimated at US$1.1 billion per year [4].
effective dissemination and implementation. The national
government embodies the authority for governance and policies.
On the other hand, local government should focus on
The Philippine coastal zone is generally composed of
implementation in collaboration with the academe (technical mangrove areas, beach areas, seagrass beds and coral reefs.
support), non-government organizations (advocacy, Estuaries and coastal wetlands are also found along the
information, education and communication), private, and coasts. A typical coastal zone in the Philippines is illustrated
financial institutions (financial assistance). Recent observations in Fig. 1. Mangrove systems provide valuable resources (e.g.
on climate change impacts are sufficient evidence to raise this timber, food and coal) and serve as buffer systems holding
issue as a national concern. Recognizing and accepting that sediments from directly accumulating to other parts of the
climate is indeed altering the planet is crucial and a change of coastal zone and protect from wave surges [17]. The total
mindset should begin within us. mangrove area in the country is 1,200 km2. Some of the
world’s finest beaches are found here like those in Boracay
I. INTRODUCTION
and Panglao Islands in the Visayas. Tourist attractions
provide additional income and livelihood for local
Climate change or global warming has been the “buzz”
communities and contribute to the country’s treasury [14].
word for years. By definition, climate change pertains to the

1
Capili EB, ACS Ibay and JRT Villarin, 2005. Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation on Philippine Coasts.
Proceedings of the International Oceans 2005 Conference. 19-23 September 2005, Washington D.C., USA.
Pp. 1-8.

Seagrass beds are found in almost every coast and spread needs of the country in formulating adaptation and mitigation
discontinuously along the shallow coastlines. Fortes (2002) measures for climate change impacts and facilitate policy-
estimated a total of 978 km2 of seagrass beds measured in 96 making process catering to the coastal zone.
sites in various parts of the country. Fisheries supported by

III. IMPACTS ON PHILIPPINE COASTS:


NATURAL SYSTEM

The changing climate has kept increasing ocean


temperature. Increase in sea-surface temperature (SST) from
1976 to 2000 has a rate of 0.14 °C for every 10 years [15].
Fig. 1. A typical coastal zone in the Philippines [7]. Among the world’s waters, tropical oceans will be
significantly affected since they receive greater amounts of
this ecosystem contribute about $540,000 annually for the solar heat input attributed to earth’s physical intrinsic
country [25]. Coral reefs are everywhere and regarded as properties [24]. It will increase evaporation and precipitation
one of the most admired diving sites in the world. They in these regions and also enhance the El Niño Southern
serve as habitats for a great diversity of plants and animals, Oscillation (ENSO) wherein every two to seven years, strong
protecting shorelines from storms and erosions, and provide westward-blowing trade winds subside and warm water
economic resource for tourism and fisheries. slowly moves back eastward across the Pacific causing
waters to shift and redistribute rains with flooding and
The warming of ocean waters has damaged the coastal droughts [10]. Analysis of General Circulation Models
areas. The most disastrous effect was the bleaching of corals (GCMs) based on emissions scenarios in the Philippines
during the 1997-1998 El Niño [1]. This affected the coral- showed that the minimum temperature in the 21st century is
associated fishes thus resulting to loss of shelter and food, expected to be higher than the 1961-90 baseline thereby a
and mortality. However, fish catch decline is not solely much warmer environment is projected [5].
attributed to the warming of the oceans but also to intense
fishing pressure and other anthropogenic stresses [21]. A. Ocean Currents and Circulation
Unfortunately, warm conditions will increase susceptibility Large scale ocean currents are primarily driven by
to stress. density differences. Warming disrupts the differences
causing changes in ocean current circulations. Coastal
As warming intensifies in shorter periods of time, there regions and adjacent landmasses will experience differential
will be great implications for coastal communities. Perez increases in temperature. Ultimately, such increase will also
[21] comprehensively reviewed climate change impacts on strengthen along-shore winds resulting to enhanced
the Philippine coastal system with emphasis on the physico- upwelling. ENSO cycles in the central Pacific ocean will
chemical and ecological effects as well as discussing also increasing in frequency and intensity [13]. In the
recommendations for management. The present study aims Philippines, SST variations due to ENSO resulted to reduced
reinforce the above-mentioned review by documenting inflow of cold water in the northern portion that in turn
impacts and discussing more detailed plans of action to reduces upwelling and weakened seasonal variation. The
address the concern. The roles of both national and local Northeast monsoon influences the South China Sea (SCS)
governments will be identified along with the other sectors whereas latitudinal differences prevail in the Philippine Sea
involved in the strategy. Results will provide a better handle with or without ENSO. Also changes in the prevailing local
in understanding the coastal dynamics of climate change and wind system of SCS during ENSO periods influence basin
serve as baseline information for local parties concerned. circulation leading to warming of surface waters [22].
This will also be the basis for analyzing impacts, developing
mitigation measures, and policy formulation. B. Marine Biogeochemistry
The ocean decreases its capacity to dissolve CO2 as it
II. METHODOLOGY warms [13] leading to a decrease in biological carbonate
formation (essential for reef-building) in tropical oceans by
Studies on climate change impacts in the Philippine 14 to 30% in 50 years. Intense warming will change primary
coastal system were compiled and comprehensively production rates and enhance Dimethyl sulfide (DMS)
reviewed. Records of climate change initiatives in the production that has a cooling effect and may affect climate in
country were also noted and assessed to determine the return [13].
current status of the country’s capacity to face climate
change issues and concerns. Given these trends,
recommendations were carefully built to suit the present

2
Capili EB, ACS Ibay and JRT Villarin, 2005. Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation on Philippine Coasts.
Proceedings of the International Oceans 2005 Conference. 19-23 September 2005, Washington D.C., USA.
Pp. 1-8.

The thermocline (zone in the water column where also reduce light in seagrass beds decreasing their
temperature drops rapidly) lowers into deeper waters, productivity. Ocean current patterns enhanced by erosion
changing the dynamics of plankton productivity and alter near shore seagrass areas and affect breeding and the
disrupting upwelling in some areas. Waters will be forced to ecosystem’s nursery functions. Salinity changes result to
evaporate faster allowing colder, nutrient-rich waters to alterations of plant distribution, changes in seed germination,
surface enhancing productivity. Although high productivity propagule formation, photosynthesis, growth, and biomass.
may have positive effects, there will be chances of toxic
micro-organism blooms. The recurrence of toxic algal F. Beaches and shorelines
blooms in Manila Bay has been attributed to the increased The predicted global sea-level rise between 1990 and
SSTs. The dominant alga, Pyrodinium bahamense var 2100 is 0.09 to 0.88 m [15]. Beaches and shorelines may
compressum, has a development pattern easily affected by erode and this increases storm surge susceptibility for coastal
major climate changes. areas especially in Eastern Philippines. Apart from the
tourism and livelihood losses, safety and security are issues
C. Mangroves that should also be considered. Not to mention the
For mangrove forests, sea-level rise will decrease possibility of salt water intrusion into ground water and
precipitation and run-off and increase salinity resulting to a flooding of coastal habitats [13]. Low lying small islands
lesser mangrove production [13]. These areas maintain the like Pag-asa Island, Kalayaan Island Group will mostly suffer
balance with fresh and salt waters. Climate change will from erosion and salt water intrusion [19]. Flooding may
certainly disrupt the balance. Prolonged warming will force also result to inundation leading to displacement of people
associated flora and fauna to endure the heat and become and increase environmental refugees [18].
more susceptible to other stresses. This may also affect their
reproductive patterns thus deviating from their normal The flooding potentials of Manila Bay were determined
seasonality. If these organisms can’t cope, mortality will using projected sea-level rise scenarios. A 1.0m rise will
most likely result. entail inundation of more than 5000 ha of land in 19
municipalities of Manila, Bulacan and Cavite [21]. The
D. Estuaries coastal ecosystems can’t cope with the rising sea-level with
Estuaries are enclosed bodies of water with a direct link the current high sediment loading and pollution. Areas that
to the sea and an input of freshwater. These are considered are mostly affected by flooding during high tides and heavy
to be one of the most biologically productive areas and serve rains will be submerged in water in this condition. A worst
as nursery grounds for juvenile fishes and shell fishes. case scenario of 2.0m rise will aggravate riverine flooding in
Intensive heat may also disrupt salt and fresh water balance most of the bay’s tributaries particularly Pampanga and Pasig
such that changes in freshwater inflow rates and evaporation rivers. Coincidentally, these areas are densely populated and
alter salinity. In effect, the warmer or less saline water poverty driven [21] and coping with the situation might be a
remains in the upper water column thereby reducing water difficulty.
mixing and O2 will be depleted in deeper waters.
Furthermore, these may result to the blocking of normal G. Coral Reefs
migration routes outside the estuary and may lead to a Reef-building corals are the major components of coral
mismatch between the plankton blooms and juvenile fishes reefs. They have symbiotic algae living inside them
that depend on these blooms for food [13]. enhancing growth and nutrient recycling. However,
increased sea-surface temperature brings out stress and
E. Seagrasses bleaching. In the recent years, reefs in poor condition
Too much warming exposure will make seagrasses increased to 40% in the last 20 years [26] and one probable
susceptible to other stresses leading to mortality. Warm cause is ocean warming. The extent of decrease attributed to
waters primarily alter their growth rates and physiological warming is yet to be established. In the last few years, there
functions as well as change distributions and patterns of has been an increase in temperature induced bleaching
reproduction. Increased concentrations of atmospheric CO2 occurrence, disease incidence, elevated sea-level, and
will also enhance primary production for carbon limited lowered ocean pH threatening coral reef survival around the
seagrass areas. Impacts of increased CO2 concentration will globe. Coral bleaching and fish kills were observed in
vary among species but will most likely disrupt competition Silaqui Island, Bolinao, Philippines but coastal areas in the
among species and between seagrass and algal populations Visayas were mostly affected by bleaching [16]. High SST
[23]. is believed to be the major cause of bleaching coinciding
with ENSO occurrence and aggravated by other factors such
Sea-level rise will lead to increased water depths, tidal as solar irradiance, current, wave energy, tidal fluctuations
variation, water movement alterations, and increased and reef morphology resulting to greater susceptibility. A
seawater intrusion into estuaries and rivers. These would significant decrease (up to 46%) in live coral cover was

3
Capili EB, ACS Ibay and JRT Villarin, 2005. Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation on Philippine Coasts.
Proceedings of the International Oceans 2005 Conference. 19-23 September 2005, Washington D.C., USA.
Pp. 1-8.

observed after the 1997-98 bleaching event in the country. One of the major impacts of warm temperatures in the
The northwestern part of the Philippines was found to be country is decrease in fisheries yield. After the 1998-99
highly susceptible to elevated sea temperatures [1]. ENSO event, the total estimated loss was 7.248 billion pesos.
Bleaching of giant clams in the land-based nurseries in The aquaculture sub-sector suffered approximately 85% (~6
Bolinao, Pangasinan was also attributed to high SSTs [9]. million pesos) economic loss followed by marine fisheries
These may have implications in stock enhancement and (14.78% ~ 1 million pesos) and inland fisheries (0.26% ~
breeding of giant clams for conservation and reseeding. 18,000 pesos). On the other hand, open water fisheries
through the marine municipal (subsistence) fishing sub-
The increase in temperature shifted the abundance and sector lost 18,401 tons (PHP 850,000) while commercial
distribution of plankton species (autotrophs) and affected the fishing in marine waters lost 4,522 tons (~ 1 million pesos)
abundance of herbivores, fishes and other organisms and inland fishing had a loss of 599 tons [11].
occupying higher trophic levels in the food web. Plankton
decrease will result in exponential fisheries yield decrease. Aside from shortage, health related impacts are also
Temperature changes will also have significant effects on expected. Toxic micro-organism blooms will cause dietary
their thermal habitats leading to redistribution of fish constraints and even poisoning due to contaminated food.
populations and disrupt the migration patterns of pelagic Heat stroke has been rampant during the height of summer
fishes. Indeed, increasing temperature combined with fishing and El Niño days. Vector borne diseases are also expected to
pressure may reinforce fishery collapse [13]. More than 50% multiply because the environment is very optimal for
of the reef sites in the Philippines, with the exception of the propagation.
Sulu Sea, surveyed between 1991 and 2004 are in the very Shelter and security are also issues of concern especially
low and low categories due to over-fishing [26]. Coupled in areas affected by sea-level rise. In cases where
with increasing SSTs, the number of over-fished reefs may construction of man-made barriers will not suffice, relocation
increase. Also, fish species associated with live corals of inhabitants will be the most likely option. Coastal erosion
showed relatively lower recruitment at bleached sites has been observed along the 60 km long coast of southern La
compared to the same sites prior to bleaching or to recovered Union, Philippines. The local communities responded either
sites. It was evident that species diversity and assemblage by temporarily evacuating, relocating, building ripraps or
structure of recruits has changed [3]. Other organisms like sandbags, or by constructing seawalls [2].
marine mammals, considered as key stone species, may also
suffer from habitat destruction, fragmentation of population V. CLIMATE CHANGE INITIATIVES IN THE
and disruption of their trophic dynamics. PHILIPPINES

IV. IMPACTS ON PHILIPPINE COASTS: Given the various impacts resulting from climate change,
SOCIAL SYSTEM it is significant to know the extent of damage and casualties.
Apparently, any change in the natural system will
Any change in the natural systems will also alter the automatically affect the dynamics of the social system.
dynamics of coastal communities. Coral bleaching and Mitigation and adaptation measures may offset the negative
mortality, changes in the chemistry and physical dynamics of impacts of climate change [13]. Therefore, it is but crucial to
the waters plus disruption of migratory and reproductive determine measures to adapt and mitigate.
patterns of marine organisms translate to significant changes
in coastal fishery demands. Fish decline will surely affect In the Philippines, numerous efforts on addressing the
productivity. The demand for searching other means of issue of climate change have already been implemented.
livelihood will increase migration in other places and shifting However, only a few concentrate on the impacts of climate
of livelihood sources. In other words, these will create a change in the coastal system. The current initiatives include
domino effect by changing people’s way of coastal living and the Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) that is
sustainability. being done in Lingayen Gulf, Davao Gulf, Cebu and
Batangas Bay. In the long run, this program aims to change
Analysis of the 1998 bleaching effects on fisheries and the resource use patterns from single to multiple uses and
tourism in various parts of the country showed difficulties in will be achieved through governance and community
attributing the loss due to climate change since over-fishing participation. However, this lacks the appropriate responses
effects have clouded the values [6]. Highly bleached areas in to present-day climatic variability and natural hazards, and
the country coincided with areas of poverty and dense climate change impacts on coastal resources [21]. Other
populations [16]. It is important to note that these areas will initiatives such as Coastal and Fisheries resources
certainly have difficulties in facing the consequences and management, Environmental impact assessment (EIA)
problems brought about by climate change. system, Disaster management system, Fisheries sector and
Coastal Environment programs (being spearheaded by the

4
Capili EB, ACS Ibay and JRT Villarin, 2005. Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation on Philippine Coasts.
Proceedings of the International Oceans 2005 Conference. 19-23 September 2005, Washington D.C., USA.
Pp. 1-8.

National government) are also being implemented. Despite important to pool all experts to come up with a holistic
their existence, it still necessary to include detailed measures strategy.
addressing climate change impacts on coasts.
Perez [21] classified the strategies into two major
Given these initiatives, several points are raised to categories. The “no regret” strategies involve solutions that
determine the impacts and adaptation options for climate can be applied to address the present concerns as well as
change related events. Key points include prioritization of future issues, which may or may not include climate change
coastal areas, identifying local, cultural, sociological issues while the “co-benefits” strategies are designed to address
to account for and initiatives that can be continued and climate change related vulnerability while also producing
adapted in other areas. It is a fact that these initiatives were corollary benefits that are not related to climate change.
not planned solely to address the detailed impacts of climate These may serve as a guiding principle in planning and
change in coastal communities thereby lacking the strategy formulation. What we are suggesting at this point is
integration of climate change related problems. In other the recognition of two primary areas of concern:
words, an integrated assessment for all coastal initiatives conservation and disaster management. These are important
with detailed implementing measures on climate change components that should be prioritized in the advent of
impacts, identification of priority areas, and problems climatic changes in the coasts.
encountered, should be developed. In addition, information
education and communication efforts are needed to In planning for conservation strategies, the government’s
complement the strategies. role must be emphasized in the creation, enhancement or
strict implementation of coastal laws, regulations, and
programs. Other strategies are given below as recommended
by Perez [21]:
VI. CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
• Formulation of ICZM guidelines and legislation
Addressing climate change issues in the country seems to (include land use planning in coastal zones).
be insufficient to cope with future climate projections. • Institutionalization of mangrove resources
Several initiatives are currently implemented however, development through formulation of additional
integration is missing. Also, they do not solely focus on the policies and regulations or amending existing
issue but rather serve other purposes. The challenge now is policies on sustainable mangrove management.
to create integrated and holistic strategies to ensure • Emphasis of massive reforestation of degraded
everyone’s security when facing the challenges that climate mangrove systems through a community-based
will bring. approach.
• Inclusion of coastal wetlands, swamps, and
The right direction to take is utilizing a multi-sectoral marshes in the National Integrated Protected
approach in addressing the issue. Climate change affects Areas System and there should be efforts in
everything on earth. It is therefore necessary to promote classifying wildlife sanctuary and unique
cooperation among institutions in making this endeavor a ecosystems.
success. In the Philippines, both national and local strategies • Strict implementation of mining laws and
are necessary. There will be involvement of different sectors reforestation of denuded watersheds to reduce
such as private and financial institutions, academe/research, river and coastal erosion.
and non-government organizations. The national and local • Incorporate evaluation of geological, hydro-
government will play lead roles in ensuring well-developed meteorological, and structural engineering
and effective strategy formulation. If, and only if, all these evaluation in the environmental impact
sectors will perform at their best capacity, we will have better assessment prior to coastal development.
chances of facing the consequences of climate change.
The creation of marine protected areas is also another
A. National Level option. However, there is a need to include climate change-
The challenge is to embrace the timescale of climate integrated conservation strategies [12] that cover range shifts
change within the scale of decision-making [21]. The and projections, changing biogeography, need for expanded
National government is responsible for policy formulation time horizons, recognition of system dynamics, immediacy
and governance specifically creating a national framework on of climate change impacts, extent of present protection and
strategies to address climate change impacts in the coastal dynamics of connectivity. Although numerous coastal and
system. This is very crucial since planning and strategy coral reef reserves are in existence, they still fall short on
formulation should be anchored on a sound basis and comprehensive coverage [12]. Management actions parallel
suggested measures should ensure effectiveness. It is very

5
Capili EB, ACS Ibay and JRT Villarin, 2005. Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation on Philippine Coasts.
Proceedings of the International Oceans 2005 Conference. 19-23 September 2005, Washington D.C., USA.
Pp. 1-8.

to those that have been developed for coral reefs to be level. Also, they will carry the task of capacity-building
applied in other marine systems are also necessary. allowing transfer of knowledge and expertise to local parties.
It is given that poorer developing countries will not be able to
On the other hand, strategies in disaster management will afford such gigantic engineering projects [13]. It is then a
involve institutional actions such as creation and challenge to create innovative measures using local
implementation of policies and regulations on habitation and resources. Developed strategies must be site-specific and
construction away from hazard-prone areas. The following must be done only after a thorough impact analysis of the
suggestions are highlighted by Perez [21]: area. Selective protection measures (e.g. dikes or sea walls)
must be constructed only after thorough cost-benefit studies.
• Conducting assessments of current practices on Issues and concerns on both the short- and long-term needs
crisis management and promote awareness of must be brought to the attention of the community who are
climate change and variability to policy makers the direct targets of the impacts, and of the policymakers who
for creation of coastal sectoral policies. will direct strategies for adaptation. Most importantly,
• Development of multi-hazard mitigation or significant stakeholders must be consulted and involved from
protection plans for natural coastal hazards with the planning stages until implementation. They have to
a priority on the maximum reduction in threat consider reserving foreshore areas for recreation/tourism
to life, structures, and economic production. purposes and other public uses and be excluded from
• New anticipatory approaches are needed to disposition, strengthen ICZM program through monitoring
increase the resilience of vulnerable areas to changes and device possible options in cases when structural
improve their recovery from future disasters. measures are not feasible (e.g. retreat or relocation can be an
• Discourage government subsidies or tax option for highly vulnerable areas) [21].
incentives to support the development of land
sensitive to sea-level rise, such as barrier C. Private sector and Financial institutions
islands, coastal wetlands, estuarine shorelines Private sectors may welcome local projects and provide
and critical wildlife habitats, must be financial support or venues for conduct of research and
discouraged. applied programs. Their support is significant and is a key
• Encourage insurance and banking industries to factor in propelling the government’s programs. Resort
factor risks of climatic variability into owners can provide venues for coastal activities such as
investment decisions. coastal clean-up campaigns in support for information
• Implement structural measures (e.g. building dissemination. Likewise, they can participate in
dikes, sea walls and other engineering options, stakeholders’ discussion on coastal planning and strategy
observational infrastructures) and non- formulations.
structural measures (i.e. policies on natural
resource conservation, environmental D. Academe and Research Institutions
management, land-use policies and building Research institutions and the academe may provide
codes). technical assistance to the implementors by gathering
• Complementing environmental management baseline information and monitoring changes, give
recommendations based on scientific findings, and assist in
with disaster management in the community
providing technical expertise for capacity building. They
level.
may be the ones to provide timely information and current
useful and relevant scientific findings for decision-makers
There is a necessity in creating national body or
and the public. These can be done by conducting studies that
implementing agency (that may fall under the jurisdiction of
include patterns, projections and consequences of both
the Inter-agency Committee on Climate Change or IACCC)
climate variability and change. Also, associated uncertainties
to integrate all evaluation reports from the local units and
come up with a status report to capture the whole picture. and knowledge gaps that would lead to informed-decision or
environmental protection, socio-economic development and
There is an urgent need to review and integrate all measures,
enhancement, and vulnerability reduction must be identified.
policies and management plans to avoid costly duplication
and to increase coordination among stakeholders. Generation of localized models for predicting local/regional
climate considering topography, land-use patterns, and the
surface hydrologic cycle is deemed important as basis for
B. Local Level
The local government units’ main role is the decision-making. Also, utilization of proxies (e.g.
seagrasses) to determine climate variability will be
implementation of strategies in their areas of responsibilities.
invaluable tools in understanding climate dynamics [8].
They will coordinate with various institutions to build a core
group tasked to gather base-line information, plan local There are still large knowledge gaps especially here in the
Philippines, on the coastal and marine ecosystems’ dynamics
activities and evaluate the implemented schemes at their

6
Capili EB, ACS Ibay and JRT Villarin, 2005. Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation on Philippine Coasts.
Proceedings of the International Oceans 2005 Conference. 19-23 September 2005, Washington D.C., USA.
Pp. 1-8.

and their responses to climate change and variability. P.B. Zamora, “Coastal erosion vulnerability mapping
Clearly, we need more research efforts on these areas (i.e. along the southern coast of La Union, Philippines Final
bleaching and algal blooms) including other resources, such Report. Applied grants for disaster risk reduction,”
as the response of mangroves, seagrasses, and marine unpublished.
mammals among others [21]. [3] D.J. Booth and G.A. Beretta, “Changes in a fish
assemblage after a coral bleaching event,” Marine
E. Non-government organizations (NGOs) Ecology Progress Series, vol. 245, pp. 205-212, 2002.
These organizations and other supporting institutions [4] L. Burke, L. Selig, and M. Spalding, Reefs at Risk in
have a crucial role to play in information dissemination Southeast Asia, Washington, DC: World Resources
especially translating technical information for public Institute, 2002.
understanding. They are also actors in conducting capacity [5] E.R. Castillo and J.T. Villarin, “Envisioning future
building activities in collaboration with the local government Philippine climate change conditions: an analysis of
units and the research/academic institutions. Information, General Circulation Models based on the Special Report
education and communication are very much essential along on Emissions Scenarios,” unpublished.
the technical and scientific efforts to achieve a well-balanced [6] H. Cesar…et al., “First evaluation of the impacts of 1998
adaptation plan. This will entail promotion of awareness coral bleaching events to fisheries and tourism,” in
about the science of climate change, impacts, and solutions. Coral Bleaching, Cause, Consequences and Response, H
Communication specialists are also needed to help raise the Schutterberg, Ed. pp.41-58.
level of awareness of the public on ways to contribute in the [7] E.T. Deguit, R.P. Smith, W.P. Jatulan, and A.T. White,
adaptation efforts, and at the same time, influence policy and Participatory Coastal Resource Assessment Training
decision makers and the community leaders to action. Guide, Cebu City, Phils.: Coastal Resource Management
Project of the Department of Environment and Natural
As social beings we have responsibilities to be involved Resources, 2004.
in these issues. Several adaptation measures are options for [8] M.D. Fortes, “Enhalus Watch – Retrospective seasonal
us to address the situation. But evidently, these should entail production signatures (RSPS) as an index of past
a holistic, multi-sectoral approach complemented with a environmental events,” in Proceedings. Regional
personal level initiative. A change of mind set is necessary. Symposium of the ASEAN-Australia Living Coastal
Figures are facts. No matter how we treat this in a Resources Project. Bangkok, Thailand, 1994.
conservative manner, we can not ignore the impacts of [9] E.D. Gomez and S.S.M. Licuanan, “Mortalities of giant
climate change. Responding with responsibility must start clams associated with unusually high temperatures and
with the individual. However, we have the option to be on coral bleaching,” Reef Encounter, vol. 24, pp. 23, 2004.
the safer side. Climate change is one phenomenon that is [10] R.H. Grove and J. Chappell, Eds., El Niño History and
real. We do not need more evidences to prove that the planet Crisis, Cambridge: The White Horse Press, 2000, pp. 1-
is indeed getting warmer. True enough, we are facing this 4.
change and we should act with urgency. [11] R.D. Guerrero III, “The impacts of El Niño on
Philippine fisheries,” Naga: the ICLARM Quarterly, vol.
Acknowledgments 22(3), pp. 14-15, 1999.
[12] L. Hannah and R. Salm, “Protected Areas and Climate
I would like to thank WY Licuanan, N Palomar- Change,” in Climate Change and Biodiversity:
Abesamis, MCC Quibilan, IU Baula, JA Canivel, J Ong, P Synergistics Impacts, L. Hannah and TE Lovejoy, 2003,
Zamora and the UP-NIGS Marine Geology Laboratory for pp. 91-100.
providing references; klima team, T Malaga, J Tiu- [13] J.T. Hardy, Climate Change: Causes, Effects and
Maquiling, RC Geronimo, AB Capili for the invaluable Solutions, West Sussex: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, 2003.
suggestions and moral support; USAID Philippines, klima [14] C.M. Huttche, A.T. White, and M.M.M. Flores,
Climate Change Center, Manila Observatory and OCEANS Sustainable Coastal Tourism Handbook for the
2005 Organizers for financial assistance. Philippines. Cebu City, Philippines: Coastal Resource
Management Project of the Department of Environment
REFERENCES and Natural Resources, United States Agency for
International Development and Department of Tourism,
[1] H.O. Arceo, M.C.C. Quibilan, P.M. Aliño, G. Lim, and 2002, pp. 1-4.
W.Y. Licuanan, “Coral bleaching in the Philippines: [15] J.T. Houghton… et al. (Eds), Climate Change 2001: The
coincident evidences with mesoscale thermal Scientific Basis, Cambridge: Cambridge University
anomalies,” Bulletin of Marine Science, vol. 69(2), pp. Press, 2001.
579-593, 2001. [16] W.Y. Licuanan, M.L.S. Medina, and M.S. Samson, “The
[2] R.D. Berdin, C.B. Remotigue, M.Y.Y. Sta. Maria, and extent and correlates of 1998-1999 mass coral bleaching

7
Capili EB, ACS Ibay and JRT Villarin, 2005. Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation on Philippine Coasts.
Proceedings of the International Oceans 2005 Conference. 19-23 September 2005, Washington D.C., USA.
Pp. 1-8.

in the Philippines based on projections of observer


accounts,” The Philippine Scientist, vol. 40, pp. 210-222,
2001
[17] Y. Mazda, M. Magi, M. Kogo, and P.N. Hong,
“Mangroves as a coastal protection from waves in the
Tong King Delta, Vietnam,” Mangroves and Salt
Marshes vol. 1, pp. 127-135.
[18] N. Myers, “Environmental refugees: a growing
phenomenon of the 21st century,” Philosophical
Transactions of the Royal Society of London, Series B,
vol. 357, pp. 609-613, 1997.
[19] J. Ong, N. Aguda, C. Jaraula, Z. Mateo, C. Pascua, and
J. Foronda, “Tidal effects on groundwater in a very
small tropical island: a study on the groundwater
resources of Pag-asa Island, Kalayaan Island Group,”
Science Diliman, vol. 12(2), pp. 33-44, 2000.
[20] R.T. Perez, “Responding to the challenges of the rising
sea,” in Disturbing Climate, JRT Villarin, Ed. Quezon
City, Phils.: Manila Observatory, 2001, pp. 17-24.
[21] R.T. Perez, “A Survey of impacts of climate variability
and change in the Philippines: coastal zone system,” in A
Study of the impacts of climate change and variability on
the sectors of agriculture, coastal zone, forestry, health,
and freshwater resources, unpublished, pp. 69-107.
2002.
[22] E.E Salamante and C.S. Villanoy, “Sea surface
temperature variability in the seas surrounding the
Philippines in relation to ENSO events,” ACRS 2000.
<http://www.gisdevelopment.net/aars/acrs/2000/ts15/oce
a0001.shtml> Accessed 01 Jul 2005.
[23] F.T. Short and H.A. Neckles, “The effects of global
climate change on seagrasses,” Aquatic Botany, vol. 63,
pp. 169-196, 1999.
[24] J. Smith, “Understanding the science and impacts of
changes in global and regional climate. In 2001 Climate
Change Science, Strategies and Solutions, E. Claussen,
VA Cochran and DP Davis, Eds. Arlington, VA: Pew
Center on Global Climate Change, 2001, pp. 1-5.
[25] H.D. Tacio and E. Tacio, “RP environment: destruction
of marine ecosystems continues,” Inquirer, June 28,
1999, pp 1, 21.
[26] K. Tun…et al., “Status of coral reefs, coral reef
monitoring and management in Southeast Asia,” in
Status of Coral Reefs of the World: 2004, Queensland:
Australian Institute of Marine Science, 2004, pp. 235-
276.
[27] T.M.L. Wigley, “The Science of climate change,” In
Climate Change Science, Strategies and Solutions, E.
Claussen VA Cochran and DP Davis, Eds. Arlington,
VA: Pew Center on Global Climate Change, 2001, pp. 6-
24.