Hisgutanang Klima sa Mindanao: Climate discussions in Southern Philippines

By Marisol Tuso

It has been almost a decade since I worked in the local newspaper as the Executive Editor of the Caraga Freelancer and the Editor-in-Chief of the People’s Guardian in Butuan City.


Even before joining The Climate Reality Project Philippines as its Regional Coordinator for Mindanao, I have been a climate advocate since 2013 and have worked on capacity development initiatives for fisherfolk in the Caraga region on climate change mitigation and measures through the Aquabased Business School with Gender and Climate Change Perspective—a year-long curriculum of conducting classes on-site in coastal villages. In the advent of the pandemic, we brought the classes to the radio through School-on-the-Air.

Nowadays, I still write documentaries for some projects that I have worked on but this new work—having a regular space to talk about climate change here in the region—is an exciting opportunity.

I am grateful to Climate Reality Philippines for giving space to Hisgutanang Klima sa Mindanao—a monthly column that will highlight climate-related issues and actions in Southern Philippines.

Mindanao is highly vulnerable to climate change impacts, especially affecting the agriculture and fisheries sectors. Typhoons, droughts, and heavy rains causing floods and landslides are among the key climate hazards affecting the so-called food basket of the country.

While the region may be vulnerable, it does not lack climate advocates who are tirelessly pushing for risk-informed and science-based climate actions. We have a total of 148 Climate Reality Leaders in Mindanao.

At least 30 percent of them are in Davao Region, 22 percent and 17 percent are in the Soccsksargen and Caraga Regions, respectively. The rest are in Northern Mindanao (15 percent), Zamboanga Peninsula (9 percent), and BARMM (7 percent).  

Fifty-five (55) percent of the total Climate Reality Leaders in Mindanao are women. Some of them are involved in policymaking and have introduced meaningful ecological and environmental ordinances at the local level, while some are leading organizations working on the protection and preservation of natural resources and the mitigation of the impacts of climate change on human security—from livelihood and culture, food security, sustainable energy, and water sufficiency.

This column will feature the climate stories and initiatives of these Climate Reality Leaders. It will also highlight individuals, organizations, government agencies, local leaders, or private organizations who are taking the lead in climate action. We will also feature climate policies that have been institutionalized and are now making a difference on the ground.

In our future releases, we will also have a more in-depth discussion on the challenges and opportunities for raising awareness and pushing for appropriate climate solutions for our most vulnerable communities in the region.

By writing this column, I hope to inspire aspiring climate advocates in Mindanao to take that first monumental step towards climate action and to constantly engage in hisgutanang klima—which means real and honest climate discussions.



Marisol is the Mindanao Coordinator of The Climate Reality Project Philippines. She has been working in the development sector for 16 years. She is a specialist in training, institution and community development, information, education, and communication (IEC), and gender and social inclusion. Aside from being a broadcast journalist since 1997,  she also served as the Project Coordinator of the Global Fund for Malaria Component Project for 10 years and as Training and IEC Specialist of the Philippine Cold Chain Project. 


Hisgutanang Klima or “Climate Discussions” is a space that aims to amplify the climate stories and initiatives of the more than 100 Pinoy Climate Reality Leaders in Mindanao.

It is one of the monthly columns launched by The Climate Reality Project Philippines to elevate the climate discourse and strengthen climate action across all regions in the Philippines.