The municipality's commitment to conserve and regenerate the environment is the underlying thread that weaves the three-pronged Integrated Resource Management program which is anchored on the municipality's 10-year Comprehensive Development Plan. The program is an integrated and holistic response to the problem caused by the destruction of life support systems by involving the people in the communities, the NGOs and the local government units. It includes marine/coastal resource management, lowland and upland resource management with the direct participation of 18 people's organizations and cooperatives of around 1,500 members.
The marine/coastal resource management component established a 50-hectare fish sanctuary and protected the Malalag Bay against illegal fishers. It had also provided loans to small fishermen through their cooperatives to set up fish cages as livelihood projects, already in their third cropping season. This project had benefited 112 fishing households or 25% of the fishing families. Planting mangrove trees and developing artificial reefs were also undertaken as part of the program activities.
Upland resource management focused on the protection and rehabilitation of the watershed. Community-based forest management and agroforestry which included the planting of permanent and high-value fruit trees were employed and had the support of the communities involved since inception. The program was responsible for mango growing covering 1,200 hectares, benefiting 678 farmers or 25% of the total farm in population.
The lowland resource management took charge of urban environment protection like tree planting at the municipal park, planting gemelina and ipil-ipil along the road, planting bamboo along the river and stream banks, and regulating the solid waste disposal. The Malalag Development Council represented by all sectors of the municipality was the unifying force in this program which had become a regular venue for all stakeholders to discuss environmental issues, concerns and solutions.
This program is recognized as a Trailblazing Program, a finalist for the 1998 Galing Pook Awards.