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Climate Resilient Community-Managed Flood Mitigation Project in La Trinidad, Benguet

Submitted by Jose Arianne Go... 13th October 2020 10:33


Barangay Betag is a community located in a fertile valley surrounded by steep mountains and rolling terrain in the Municipality of La Trinidad, Benguet, Philippines.  This area is well known for its “Strawberry Fields” - farmland subdivided into smaller parcels of 250-500 square meter garden plots where low-income farmers and gardeners cultivate high-value fruits and vegetables such as strawberries, lettuce, broccoli, and herbs. The production of high-value crops, primarily strawberries, is the main source of income for this community. It also generates a chain of enterprises, trade and tourism activities linked to strawberry and vegetable farming.  

La Trinidad 5-year Flood Map Scenario. Source: Phil-Lidar project and SPADE

However, the strawberry fields are highly vulnerable to severe flooding. The valley floor is regularly flooded during typhoons, monsoon rains, and heavy rainfall events. Floods can be up to two meters deep and inundate the whole valley floor (see image above) for up to 12 hours before receding (see image above).  This has serious negative impacts on crops as they cannot survive underwater longer than 2 to 3 hours. The regular flooding events cause serious damage and losses to the farmers and widely affect the whole municipal economy of La Trinidad. 

Yearly flooding severely affects the livelihoods of smallholder farmers in the strawberry fields in Barangay Betag. Photo Credit: PRRM 

Climate change is expected to worsen the community’s flood risk. Mid-range projections from the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) indicate that rainfall will increase between 36% to 38% during the dry season (peak season for harvesting and selling strawberries) to 6 to 18.5% during the wet season – a period of seed replacement and flowering.  This case study presents a community-led resilience project to protect the strawberry fields from rainfall and inundation due to climate change. This was identified by the community stakeholder group as their top priority for a community-led resilience project.


The community-led project (CLP) places urban poor communities as active and informed participants at the centre of the process of resilience planning, from assessment to implementationand gives them a role in the maintenance of community-led projectsThrough the Community Resilience Planning (CRP) process, people from poor and vulnerable groups work together with other stakeholders from government and the private sector to collect and analyse data about how hazards impact vulnerable groups and livelihoods and design and agree resilience solutions.  The Community Resilience Planning process requires strong social mobilization, communication and engagement with all stakeholders. It also requires the creation of the Community Stakeholder Group (CSG), an institutional and multi-sectoral mechanism for transparent and effective information sharing, decision-making and implementation of community decisions and actions. 

Source: Project Methodology, ADB-RETA 9329


Community-Led Resilience Project

Through the CRP process, community members identified and developed a CLP called “The Betag Climate Resilient Flood Mitigation Project” to address the perennial problem of flooding that seriously affects their livelihood. The project will improve the flood drainage system through the installation of larger reinforced box culverts. The project will considerably increase the discharge of flood water out of the strawberry and vegetable farms into Bolo Creek.  The design of the drainage system is expected to be effective for 50 to 75 years and takes into account the projected increase in rainfall and flood volume levels for the next 50 years.  

Consultation workshops were conducted among strawberry field workers and other members of the community. 
Photo Credit: PRRM



The current standard government design of flood control projects do not incorporate the actual volume of rainfall, the discharge volume of floodwaters, nor future climate projections.  The CLP features a drainage system which is larger than standard government designs and it takes into account the highest recorded rainfall levels, the largest floodwater volumes experienced in the area, and the worst-case future climate change scenarios.  It is also designed to withstand a greater amount of stress and pressure and expected to last for more than 50 years. The project will construct reinforced concrete box culverts in 3 key sites along the Benguet Agri-Pinoy Trading Complex (BAPTC) Road to open up drainage outflow points for the strawberry fields three main tributary areas. The local government and the Department of Public Works and Highway (DPWH) appreciate that the design provides allowances above the minimum government design standard.  This provides an opportunity to test a new design and influence institutions and decision-makers to promote drainage design standards that are more climate-resilient.  

The flood culvert system takes into account the projected increase in rainfall and flood levels due to climate change for the next 50 years. Photo Credit: PRRM  

Top Elevation and Cross Section Design of the Box Culverts.  The project design was developed in collaboration with municipal and community stakeholders. Photo Credit: PRRM 


Gender and Social Inclusion

Research revealed that flooding had a major impact on the lives and livelihood of the farmers working in the strawberry plantation.  Land ownership and security of tenure is an issue for all farmers in the area – both women and men–as the land is rented from the Benguet State University.  The Benguet State University is therefore a member of the community stakeholder group where farmers (women and men), gardeners, local government members, senior citizens, youth, persons with disability are all included in the process of design, development and implementation of the project. 

Issues and Challenges

Implementing the community-managed flood mitigation project encountered several challenges including the community’s lack of technical and operational capacity to manage and maintain the flood culverts, and the need to secure government permits and clearances for the larger engineering design.  The project will develop the capacity of community members to enable them to properly operate and maintain the new flood control system, and the city government and project partners will support the community in securing the necessary government permits and clearances for the project. 

Expected Results and Impact of the Project

The construction of the reinforced concrete box culverts will significantly reduce the impacts of perennial flooding on the strawberry and vegetable fields of Barangay Betag. In 2018 alone, the flood damages and losses in the barangay amounted to an estimated 3.3 Million Pesos (USD 66,000) according to records from the Municipal Disaster and Risk Reduction and Management Office (MDDRMO).  Without the project, these losses and damages are expected to increase due to the anticipated increase in the frequency and severity of flooding events in the area due to climate change.   

Community organizations will lead the maintenance and management of the flood control system through regular monitoring, cleaning and dredging of silt, debris and waste materials that can block the culvert and prevent the drainage system from operating effectively.  Farmers and farmer groups are expected to monitor and clean the culverts and drainage system on a regular/rotational basis to ensure the unimpeded flow of floodwaters.  Through this community-led project, flooding damage and losses will be reduced and this will contribute to more resilient and sustainable livelihoods for the community. 

Farmer-gardener support actions to address the perennial flooding experienced in the strawberry fields.
Photo Credit: 
Office of the Mayor
La Trinidad, Benguet
Date taken: 20 April 2020
Name of Farmer: Marvin Chagyo


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