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Executive Order No. 533: Integrated Coastal Management Policy
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Executive Order No. 533: Integrated Coastal Management Policy[1]

Albert P. Aquino and Aleta Belissa D. Correa[2]



The Philippines has a total coastline of 36,289 km, making it fourth with the longest coastline in the world[3].  Its coastal and marine areas have been significant sources of livelihood, from basic fishing to high-end tourism activities. Several policies have been put in place to ensure the protection of the country’s coastal resources. These include, among others: Republic Act Nos. 7160 (The Local Government Code of 1991), 8550 (The Philippine Fisheries Code of 1998), and 9275 (Philippine Clean Water Act of 2004); and Executive Order No. 533 (2006) on Integrated Coastal Management  (ICM).

Executive Order No. 533

Executive Order No. 533, adopting Integrated Coastal Management (ICM) as a national strategy to ensure the sustainable development of the country’s coastal and marine environment and resources and establishing supporting mechanisms for its implementation, was signed by former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on June 6, 2006. The ICM and related approaches, such as coastal resource management or coastal zone management, shall be the national management policy framework to promote the sustainable development of the country’s coastal and marine environment and resources in order to achieve food security, sustainable livelihood, poverty alleviation and reduction of vulnerability to natural hazards, while preserving ecological integrity (Section 1[4]). The ICM covers all coastal and marine areas, addressing the inter-linkages among associated watersheds, estuaries and wetlands, and coastal seas, by all relevant national and local agencies (Section 2).

National ICM Programme

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), in consultation with other concerned, sectors, and stakeholders, has been tasked to develop a National ICM Programme to provide direction, support and guidance to the Local Government Units (LGUs) and stakeholders in the development and implementation of their local ICM programmes. The National ICM Programme shall include principles, strategies, and action plans identified after balancing national development priorities with local concerns, define national ICM targets and develop a national ICM coordinating mechanism (Section 3).

Implementation of ICM Programmes

The implementation of ICM programmes shall take into account the following elements (Section 4):

a.   an interagency, multi-sectoral mechanism to coordinate the efforts of different agencies, sectors and administrative levels;

b.   coastal strategies and action plans that provide a long-term vision and strategy for sustainable development of the coastal area, and a fixed term programme of actions for addressing priority issues and concerns;

c.    public awareness programmes to increase the level of understanding of, and appreciation for, the coastal and marine resources of the area, and to promote a shared responsibility among stakeholders in the planning and implementation of the ICM programme;

d.   mainstreaming ICM programmes into the national and local governments’ planning and socio-economic development programmes and allocating adequate financial and human resources for implementation;

e.   capacity building programmes to enhance required human resource skills, scientific inputs to policy and planning processes, and enforcement mechanisms to ensure compliance with adopted rules and regulations;

f.     integrated environmental monitoring for the purpose of measuring the status, progress and impacts of management programmes against sustainable development indicators, as may be established, and for use in decision-making, public awareness, and performance evaluation; and

g.    investment opportunities and sustainable financing mechanisms for environmental protection and improvement and resource conservation.

Supporting mechanisms and activities

The following activities shall be undertaken in support of the implementation of ICM programmes (Section 8):

a.    ICM Education. The Department of Education shall integrate ICM into the primary and secondary education curricula and/or subjects (i.e. Science, Biology, Sibika, History, among others), including textbooks, primers and other educational materials, basic principles and concepts of conservation, protection and management of country’s marine resources;

b.   ICM Training Programme for LGUs. DENR and Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), through the Local Government Academy (LGA) and building upon existing ICM expertise and experiences, shall develop and provide ICM training programmes to LGUs;

c.   Environmental and Natural Resource Accounting and Valuation for ICM Planning. NEDA and the National Statistics Coordination Board shall incorporate coastal and marine resource accounting in the national and regional accounts; and

d.  Coastal And Marine Environmental Information Management System. DENR shall oversee the establishment and maintenance of a coastal and marine environmental information management system and network, in collaboration with other concerned national government agencies, institutions and LGUs.

Budget appropriation for ICM

All relevant national government agencies and LGUs shall allocate adequate funds for the development and implementation of ICM programmes from their existing budgets. In subsequent budget proposals, the concerned offices and units shall appropriate budget for ICM programme development and implementation including continuing ICM training and education (Section 10). National government agencies may source local and international grants and donations in support of ICM implementation and in accordance with relevant laws (Section 11).

The DENR and ICM

As mandated by E.O. No. 533, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) and Municipal Development Fund Office (MDFO) have implemented the Integrated Coastal Resources Management Project (ICRMP) from July 2007 to June 2013. The ICRMP aims to follow the “ridge to reef” approach (addressing threats in the uplands, lowlands and coastal areas in an integrated way) for sustainably managing the coastal resources and to increase income of the fisher folk by providing them greater access to livelihood opportunities. Its implementation is supported by US $33.8M loan proceeds from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and US $9M grant proceeds from the Global Environmental Facility (GEF). The project covers 80 municipalities in the provinces of Cagayan (Region 2), Zambales (Region 3), Romblon (Region 4B), Masbate (Region 5), Cebu (Region 7), Siqiujor (Region 7) and Davao Oriental (Region 11) (ICRMP website). 

On the other hand, the National Integrated Coastal Management Program (NICMP) primarily aims to achieve sustainable development of the country’s coastal areas and improve the quality of life of coastal communities. The NICMP proposal will cover the period 2013-2016 in accordance with the timeframes of the Philippine Development Plan (PDP) and the Sustainable Development Strategy for the Seas of East Asia. It will be implemented by concerned national agencies spearheaded by the DENR with participation of relevant civil society groups and NGOs, academic, corporate and private sectors. Its implementation covering 832 municipalities in the country will cost a total amount of US$91.5 Million. The Philippine government will cover the 30% of the total cost of the program amounting to US$27.5 Million. It has four project components, namely (DENR):

a.  Governance – underscores the integration of policy, strategies and scientific knowledge to create a course of action that is conducive to sustainable development and management of the coastal and marine ecosystem

b. Sustainable Development Program – covers the following:

  1. natural and man-made hazard prevention and management
  2. biodiversity/habitat conservation, protection , and restoration management
  3. water use and supply management
  4. food security and livelihood management
  5. pollution reduction and waste management

c.  State of the Coasts Reporting – monitor and assess baseline conditions and responses, trends, and impacts and outcomes of ICM programs

d. Development and implementation of ICM as a systematic process for achieving the desired outputs and outcomes identified in the Sustainable Development Framework


The Philippines ranks fourth with the longest coastline in the world. Several policies have been laid out to protect and develop the country’s coastline. E.O No. 533 (2006) specified the adoption of ICM to provide sustainable development of the coastal and marine environment and resources. The DENR, together with other concerned agencies, LGUs, and other organizations, has implemented the ICRMP, which covers 80 municipalities. The NICMP proposes to expand its coverage to 832 municipalities. The major challenge for its implementation would be the availability of funding since ICM as a strategy requires a significant amount to cover its components. The cooperation of all the stakeholders is also essential in achieving its goals.


DENR. Sustaining our Coasts: the National Integrated Coastal Management Program (2013-2016) Project Proposal.

Executive Order No. 533. Accessed in May 2014.

ICRMP Website. Accessed in May 2014.

Republic Act No. 7160. Accessed in May 2014.

Republic Act No. 8550. Accessed in May 2014.

Republic Act No. 9275. Accessed in May 2014.

The Top 5 Countries with the Longest Coastline. Accessed in May 2014.


[1] A short policy paper submitted to the Food and Fertilizer Technology Center (FFTC) for the project titled “Asia-Pacific Information Platform in Agricultural Policy”. Short policy papers, as corollary outputs of the project, describe pertinent Philippine laws and regulations on agriculture, aquatic and natural resources.

[2] Philippine Point Person to the FFTC Project on Asia-Pacific Information Platform in Agricultural Policy and Director and Science Research Specialist II, respectively, of the Socio-Economics Research Division-Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (SERD-PCAARRD) of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), Los Baños, Laguna, the Philippines.

[3] The Top 5 Countries with the Longest Coastline

[4] All Sections refer to E.O. No. 533 unless indicated. 


Date submitted: July 29, 2014

Reviewed, edited, and uploaded: July 30, 2014


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