Batangas Bay Water Zoning Pilot Project
The planning of human uses in the Philippines has always been focused on land use planning. This innovative project, undertaken by the Partnerships in Environmental Management for the Seas of East Asia (PEMSEA) and published in 1999, examined the zoning of sea uses in Batangas Bay. The size of the study area (land and sea) was 674 km2. Despite the archipelagic nature of the Philippines (almost 90% of the Philippines is marine waters), sea or water use planning was non-existent. While there was selective zoning of certain sea areas, these were mainly traffic separation schemes, marine protected areas (Tubbataha Reef National Park), and areas for coastal tourism that were loosely connected to land use planning.
The water use zonation scheme (functional zonation) was a response to the frequent occurrences of multiple resource use conflicts. It was seen as a effective tool for integrating environmental issues such as marine pollution into land use planning. As a pioneering effort, legislative and other institutional considerations would have to be established before the plan was implemented. They never were.