Sustainable forest management in the Philippines is facing a host of conflicting policies. The Forestry Development Center (FDC) of the University of the Philippines in Los Baños (UPLB) is working to link findings of research on forestry practices or technology enhancement with policy development and implementation. As such, FDC leads the charge in formulating the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of Executive Order No. 318 of 2004 or the “Promotion of Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) in the Philippines” with an eye on attaining effective sustainable forest management in the country.
With generous assistance from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Programme of the European Union (EU), three major consultations were held around the country to solicit recommendations from stakeholders about drafting a robust IRR. FDC Director Priscila Dolom and Forester Hanna Capinpin were at the helm to make sure that the IRR would cover all the bases.
Held in Quezon City on September 21, 2018, the Luzon consultation set in motion the gathering of insights. One recommendation was to broaden the foundation of IRR to include relevant policies such as Protected Area Community-Based Resource Management Agreement (PACBRMA), Expanded National Integrated Protected Areas System (E-NIPAS), and Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Act (IPRA). Participants particularly wanted the draft IRR to give due consideration to the indigenous knowledge systems when addressing forest management challenges and to raise the level of public awareness of environmental concerns.
The next round of consultation was in Cebu City on October 15, 2018. Enforcement of laws and imposition of penalties and various forest charges were among the suggestions of the Visayas group. They advocated promoting mangroves and producing high quality seedlings as critical components in sustainable forest management.
The final leg of consultation was conducted in Davao City on November 20, 2019. Mindanao participants recommended the inclusion of marginal stakeholders as partners in sustainable forest management. (UPLB-FDC/ Priscila Dolom, Hanna Leen Capinpin, Judith Castillo, and Michiko Karisa Buot)