The socio-economic concept of willingness to pay implies that something worth having is worth paying for. This perception can serve as vital information in environmental conservation efforts, considering the ever-present challenge of limited funds.
In Oroquieta City, Misamis Occidental province in Northern Mindanao, a research conducted by SEARCA graduate alumna, Aisa O. Manlosa, used the contingent valuation method to establish how much the local residents were willing to pay to protect and ensure sustainable domestic water supply. Ms. Manlosa served as a resource speaker in the recently concluded SEARCA Special Graduate Seminar where she presented the salient points of her study entitled Willingness to Pay for Layawan Watershed Protection, Oroquieta City, Philippines.
Manlosa’s study showed that majority of the respondents were willing to contribute funds to finance a community-based conservation project in the upland Layawan Watershed to ensure the sustainable supply of their domestic water. If all residents would be required to pay, most respondents stated that they would be willing to contribute four pesos every month; but would even pay around six pesos per month if payment would be voluntary. However, Manlosa recommends that the mandatory scheme is more practical and can ensure a consistent income stream.
Within five years, the total funds that could be generated from households can range from PHP117,000.00 to PHP471,000.00 which, are unfortunately lower than the cost of conservation. Nonetheless, he study showed that community-funded conservation projects have potential in Layawan watershed, particularly if these are done in conjunction with public consultation, fund management transparency and other fund mobilization schemes.
Ms. Manlosa currently works as Instructor at the College of Arts and Sciences, Caraga State University. She finished her MSc in Environmental Studies at the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) in April 2011 under the Graduate Scholarship Program of SEARCA, with funding from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). (Ms. Jesselle S. Laranas)
The point of view taken by this article is entirely that of the presenter's and does not reflect in any way, SEARCA’s position.