Foresters to draft national action plan for forestry
The country’s top professional foresters converged at the Subic Bay Exhibition and Convention Center here on Wednesday for a three-day summit with the end in view of drafting a national action plan on the management and promotion of the country’s forest resources.
The “National Summit Conference on Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade,” according to a statement from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), is expected to be a high-level meeting of local foresters from academe, the government and wood-based industry sectors to discuss how the forestry profession can elevate its role in the government’s anti-illegal logging campaign and improve the local wood-based industry by promoting the National Greening Program (NGP).
Environment Secretary Ramon Paje, who will be the keynote speaker in the event, lauded the holding of the conference, saying it came at a time “when the profession finds itself on new paths forged in the crucible of rectification in the country’s policies on forestry program being pursued by President Aquino.”
“There’s no better time than now that we, as foresters, should take a deeper reflection on how much contribution the forestry profession have made to winning back the country’s forests which, to a great extent, mirrors the state of our profession,” said Paje, who has a bachelor’s degree in forestry science from the University of the Philippines at Los Baños, Laguna.
The forestry conference was organized by the 8,000-strong Society of Filipino Foresters Inc. (SFFI) to mark their 64th anniversary celebration.
The SSFI is a non-profit organization formed in 1948, which is now working for the adoption of science and technology in forestry-related activities within the framework of sustainable forest management practices being implemented by the DENR.
Among the topics expected to be discussed in the three-day summit are measures on how the profession could strengthen and unify ongoing efforts to stop wanton forest destruction, and how local foresters could promote sustainable management of forest resources so that the forestry sector can fully contribute to national development.
Among the important outputs expected from the conference are a “National Action Plan on Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade” and an SFFI action plan to promote good governance among its ranks.
Organizers said the conference will feature papers about updates on Philippine forests. These include “Pagsasaayos Ng Kagubatan: Isang Hamon ng Pulitika at Hindi ng Teknolohiya” by Dr. Antonio Contreras; “The State of the Philippine Forests and Analysis of Key Drivers of Deforestation and Forest Degradation in the Philippines” by Dr. Antonio Carandang; “Karanasan at mga Isyung Kinahaharap ng Bantay Gubat ng Mangatarem” by Ely Curimao; “The National Greening Program” by DENR-Forest Management Bureau Director Ricardo Calderon; and “Binhi Tungo sa Tagumpay ng Community-Based Forest Management” by Mariano Saclauso Sr.
Five other papers will tackle enforcement of forestry laws to curb illegal logging. These are: “Forest Law Enforcement” by Gen. Renato Miranda (ret.), Executive Director of the Anti-illegal Logging Task Force; “Forest Laws Enforcement, Governance and Trade in the Philippines” by Philippine Wood Producers Association head Antonio Olizon; “Initiatives on Strengthening Forest Law Enforcement and Governance” by Generosa Mislang; “Holistic Evaluation and Approaches to Curb Illegal Logging in the Philippines” by forester-Lawyer Wilfrido Pollisco; and “Framework for a National Action Plan on Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade” by Dr. Manuel Bonita.
Other personalities expected to grace the conference are Party-list Rep. Angelo Palmones of Agham, Zambales First District Rep. Mitos Magsaysay, Olongapo City Mayor James Gordon Jr. and Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority Chaiman Roberto Garcia.