UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Sustainability meets eco-spirituality : using a qualitative multi-methods approach to explore the Philippine Catholic Church’s potential for watershed governance partnership in the Angat River Basin, Bulacan, Philippines O'Callaghan, Katherine


The literature of Integrated Water Resource Management argues collaborative watershed partnerships between state agencies and civil society are crucial for water governance. They bring stakeholders together to facilitate dialogue, reduce competition and negotiate on complex water related issues. However in newly independent states, like the Philippines, local state agencies are still struggling to adopt collaborative governance approaches that offer stronger stakeholder engagement, due to poorly implemented decentralizing policies, resource constraints and a lack of political will. Thus, the need to identify and explore alternative institutional arrangements that are capable and willing to support local government is the first step towards developing culturally appropriate and feasible solutions within the Philippine context. Using the Angat River Basin, located in Bulacan, Central Luzon, Philippines, as the focal area for investigation, this research presents a shift in thinking about mainstream watershed group-agency partnerships. As such, the research suggests that the Philippine Catholic Church, a key faith-based organization possesses the necessary skills, experience and trust to facilitate and support a potential partnership for the 63,000 hectare Angat River Basin. The findings from this research, which were collected using a qualitative multi-method approach, highlight how the Diocese of Malolos and the wider Philippine Catholic Church are not only actively responding to environmental advocacy and management, but that their strengths of transformational leadership, political acuity and moral authority compensate for the deficiencies of the local government.

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