The Provincial Government of Bohol has acknowledged that their most vulnerable communities today are Batasan Island in the Municipality of Tubigon, and Matatao Island in the adjacent Municipality of Calape.

Tide waters have not receded since a magnitude 7.2 earthquake hit Bohol severely in 2013, and the situation is made even worse by the aftermath of Super Typhoon Odette (Rai) in December 2021. 

The two islands are exhibits A and B of “waterworldliness" in Bohol.

The waters in Batasan Island, for example, have not subsided due to coseismic uplift or subsidence as the land mass lies at the North Bohol fault, according to Maria Isabel Abigania, senior science researcher of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS).

Dennis Bringas, chief of the Physical Oceanography Division of National Mapping and Resource Information Authority (NAMRIA), said that based on studies, 3.2 mm is the average global rise in sea water levels annually.

In Bohol, sea levels rose by 10.8 mm yearly, Bringas said, which is about three folds of the global average.

By acknowledging the effects of climate change, the province becomes the first in the country to have shaped a Committee on Climate Change at the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (Provincial Board) level  to develop an action plan particular to the effects of rising sea levels, such as permanent relocation, and not just evacuation every time the tides are high or the weather is bad.

“The creation of a Climate Change Committee was approved this year because of our strong engagement knowing the effects of climate change, sea level rise, and because typhoons are getting stronger, we expect flooding by the end of this year, and because of La Niña, we will be closely working with national government agencies,” Dr. Damalerio said in a media discussion initiated by Internews-Earth Journalism Network’s reporting trip with Cebu and Bohol journalists. 

The level of water in Batasan Island is about half-a-meter high, or water that reaches high above the ankle or below the calf of a person with average height for an Asian.

Over a hundred residents would tread the waters to their houses that have been improved to include a second floor that ensures dry space. However, garbage floating in the said community becomes a disgusting sight.

According to Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office Chief, Dr. Anthony Damalerio, the residents in Batasan Island are set to leave their settlement to embrace a safer life in the mainland.

The residents have shown resistance to the permanent relocation offered by the local government unit because their livelihood is in Batasan where a number of them were born, thus the emotional connection.

“Where will be their next source of livelihood, mao gyud na ang concern nganong mo-resist sila sa permanent relocation," Damalerio said.

He cited that the province has allocated approximately P5 million for permanent relocation.


Urgent climate action can secure a liveable future for all, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (UPCC) said in a press release on March 20, 2023 in Interlaken, Switzerland after issuing its synthesis report. 

"More than a century of burning fossil fuels as well as unequal and unsustainable energy and land use has led to global warming of 1.1°C above pre-industrial levels. This has resulted in more frequent and more intense extreme weather events that have caused increasingly dangerous impacts on nature and people in every region of the world," the report reads. 

UPCC accentuated that every increment of warming results in rapidly escalating hazards.

"More intense heatwaves, heavier rainfall and other weather extremes further increase risks for human health and ecosystems. In every region, people are dying from extreme heat. Climate-driven food and water insecurity is expected to increase with increased warming. When the risks combine with other adverse events, such as pandemics or conflicts, they become even more difficult to manage," the report further reads.

The report, approved during a week-long session in Interlaken, brings to sharp focus the losses and damages experience and will continue into the future, hitting the most vulnerable people and ecosystems especially hard. 

"Taking the right action now could result in the transformational change essential for a sustainable, equitable world. Climate justice is crucial because those who have contributed least to climate change are being disproportionately affected,” Aditi Mukherji, one of the 93 authors of the Synthesis Report, the closing chapter of the Panel’s sixth assessment, stated.

This is true to the Philippines battered constantly by disasters of sorts.

The Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (DOST-PAGASA) in its journal on the "Impact of Climate Change" pointed out that responding to climate change is to manage its impacts. 

“Future impacts on the environment and society are now inevitable, owing to the amount of greenhouse gases already in the atmosphere from past decades of industrial and other human activities, and to the added amounts from continued emissions over the next few decades until such time as mitigation policies and actions become effective. We are therefore committed to changes in the climate. Taking steps to cope with the changed climate conditions both in terms of reducing adverse impacts and taking advantage of potential benefits through adaptation,” DOST-PAGASA stated. 


According to the World Bank (WB), decisions about climate change are complex, costly and have long-term implications.

Therefore, it is vital that such decisions are based on the best available evidence.

“We need to understand the quality and provenance of that evidence, and whether any assumptions have been made in generating it,” WB said in its journal entitled “Why are climate data and evidence important?”

In Baclayon town, some 11.1 kilometers away from Tagbilaran City, the capital of the Province of Bohol, its vice mayor said that the lack of data on rising water levels along the coastlines of Baclayon and Pamilacan, a barangay-island where over a thousand residents thrive on marginal fishing and ecotourism opportunities, has delayed the creation of a committee specific to response and management of the impact and challenges of climate change.

“Maglisud ta og forecast about specific programs directed at challenges of communities regarding rising sea level kay wala man gud tay data. Based on science man gud ang pagbuhat nato og mga policy,” Vice Mayor Romulo Balingkit said when the journalists on a reporting tour were on a courtesy visit at his office on June 4, 2024 

Databases allow organizations to establish baselines, benchmarks, and performance goals. 

The baseline serves as the basis for the implementation of a particular solution. 

Further, a solution is in turn measured by data to test whether the approach is effective, or if it needs revision or termination. 


Now, more than ever, despite complexities and challenges, conservation efforts are our intergenerational responsibility, not just to the current generation, but to generations yet unborn.

As the country marks Philippine Environment Day on June 5, 2024, humanity's pivotal role in stewardship and to the worldwide web of life is magnified a thousand times.