Filipino advocates lead the country towards forest certificationMar 10 2016
In a pioneering move to promote forestry conservation, a group of Filipino advocates have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that will move the country towards the establishment of a national forest certification system.
“We need a bolder and more ambitious transformation of stakeholders to embrace sustainable forestry, and the very structure of the forestry sector, ranging from governance to industry, through a national forestry certification system,” said Sec. Neric Acosta, Presidential Adviser for Environment Protection, during his opening speech. He also went on to challenge the forestry sector to contribute to the country’s sustainable development.
“Under Executive Order 23 (S.2011), the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is mandated to implement a national forest certification system to ensure sustainability of legal sources and chain of custody of timber and other wood products, and we are now seeking assistance from PEFC and the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) in its establishment,” said Ricardo Calderon, Director of Forest Management Bureau (FMB) of DENR, during the Panel Discussion.
A National Governing Board has already been organized, which, under the MoU, will be the highest decision-making body of the national forest certification system, to be called the Philippine Sustainable Forest Certification System. The National Governing Board will be responsible for creating the different bodies that will work for pilot projects, standards development and the certification processes.
Tommy Valdez, National President of the Society of Filipino Foresters Inc. (SFFI), presented the proposed road map for the Philippine Sustainable Forest Certification System (PSFCS).
Held on 1 March 2016 at the Richmonde Hotel, the MoU was signed during the Symposium on the Establishment of a National Forest Certification System. Sponsored by PEFC, the event followed on from Asia-Pacific Forestry Week, which had taken place the previous week. The symposium was attended by government, forestry industry leaders and companies, as well as NGOs working in forest-based communities.
Among the advocates who signed the MoU, led by DENR Forest Management Bureau (FMB) Director Ricardo Calderon were:
- Tommy Valdez, National President of the Society of Filipino Foresters Inc. (SFFI)
- Matimco CEO Charlie Liu of the Philippine Wood Producers Association (PWPA),
- Dr. Priscila Dolom, Head of the University of the Philippines Los Banos College of Forestry and Natural Resources-Forestry Development Center (UPLB CFNR-FDC)
- Gillian Dunuan of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP)
- Antonio Antonio, Managing Director of the Integrated Forest Management Association of the Philippines (IFMAP)
- Vinancio Cueno of the National Community-Based Forest Management PO Federation of the Philippines (NCBFMPOFPI)
- Neric Acosta, Honorable Secretary, and June Alvarez, Chairperson and President, of the Philippine Center for Environmental Protection and Sustainable Development Inc. (PCEPSDI)
- Institutional witnesses for the MoU signing were PEFC International and the Philippine Business for the Environment (PBE)