Fiends of Zamboanga watersheds movement

June 7, 2017

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Fiends of Zamboanga watersheds movement

About the Implementing organization

Name: Silsilah Dialogue Movement

Country: Philippines

Year of establishment: 1984

Type of organization: Community-based association or organization / Legally recognized non-profit status / Indigenous group or organization / Ethnic minority group or association


Along the years, Silsilah in promoting Dialogue with Creation has come with this special initiative called the Friends of Zamboanga Watersheds Movement to protect the six watersheds of Zamboanga that are identified but not approved and many businesses including, illegal mining, logging, and quarrying try to enter in those areas. This movement, organised by Silsilah, are formed by many partners in Zamboanga including religious sectors, government agencies, schools, and NGOs. The movement is considered a loose movement where the members join because they are interested in contributing their ideas and support. To make this movement stronger, we are making a campaign of education through the primer that we included in our supplemental documents. Supporting the new effort of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in their campaign against illegal mining and illegal business, one of the legal actions is the letter that the movement sent to the Senate in support of the confirmation of the appointment of Secretary Gina Lopez. We know that this effort is hard but this movement is determined to continue its advocacy asking if needed, national and international help to support its goal with the hope that this could be a model for many to do the same in their areas convinced that the future of the world depends especially on having enough water and protecting the environment. This will determine the future peace in the world.

Nature Element

Forests / Mountains / Rivers

Type of Action

Protection / Restoration / Sustainable use / Access and benefit sharing / Pollution prevention, clean up / Invasive species / Awareness and education / Advocacy for land & water rights

Sustainable Development Element

Jobs and livelihoods / Food security / Water security / Disaster risk reduction / Peace and security / Health / Renewable energy / Climate action

Related Sustainable Development Goal(s)


Environmental Impacts

We already have some positive impacts, thanks to this Friends of Zamboanga Watersheds in Zamboanga since the time we have started. Among the most relevant impacts, we can mention is the awareness government and non-government institutions to protect the watersheds and not to be tempted of any form of corruption on the part of the mining companies or illegal businesses. We know that all these impacts need continuous advocacy. For this reason, we consider our action of exposing an abandoned mining area in Barangay Baluno which is the highlight of a documentary we uploaded on entitled, "A Sad Story of Abandoned Mine in Mindanao." It's already getting the attention of the DENR national level and local level. We already acquired the promise from DENR to take action on this matter. We hope that this and other actions are done in line with this advocacy can also have an impact on the National level and others will be challenged to do similar activities in their own place.

Sustainable Development Impacts

All the elements checked on the list of sustainable development are connected and we believe that if we start to give hope to the people in the mountains with the proper job out of the program to develop the different elements described above, for sure, people will understand and become responsible for collaborating with the programs of both government and private agencies to move forward with hope. One of the major problems in the mountain areas where the watersheds are located is the presence of bandits and rebels who can easily convince the farmers who live in the area to take arms against the government. This historical and cultural aspect of the area cannot be ignored since it is the source of many other problems. But we believe that proper education can help the farmers in the mountain area to change attitude. We already experienced some changes in the positive direction but there is still a lot of work to do and the FZWM is determined to move in this direction.


The activities done by the FZWM along the years have created an impact at the local level among institutions and government sectors. This initial effort started many years ago and is now gaining more attention because there is a bigger interest on the national and international level related to the environment in general and especially for the protection of the watersheds. In this situation, we have multiplied contacts on the local and national level. We have also done a lot of seminars on the Paris Environmental Agreement of 2015 and we have used a lot the document, Laodato Si' of Pope Francis to educate people and to use this issue as a good example of Muslim and Christian Dialogue. The specific step that we have taken is to adopt a watershed and we already have an initial agreement with the DENR. They have already identified the Ayala Watershed to be assigned to Silsilah with the help of FZWM as you can see in the uploaded supporting document.


With the increasing attention to climate change, and especially on the protection of the watersheds in the Philippines and around the world, we already have some contacts of institutions who know about our effort and they wish to do the same effort in their area. The presentation of the video entitled 'A Sad Story of an Abandoned Mine in Mindanao' has already gained the attention of DENR at the national level and has helped local leaders who were not aware of this problem to find solutions. We are determined to take the offer of DENR seriously - to adopt a mountain/watershed. This is to show that it is possible to protect the watershed if we work together. Unfortunately, in the past, a similar program was not implemented properly or if it was, partially implemented. It was used by corrupt government officers and other institutions. We are determined to handle this program with the responsibility and accountability and to use the Social Media to create an impact.

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