About three hundred people’s organization (PO) members from Regions II, III, and VI and CAR, and various national and local stakeholders gathered in person and through teleconference in the recently concluded People’s Organization (PO) Summit and Watershed Forum 2022 of the Forestland Management Project (FMP). The gathering, with the theme “Tayo, Tungo sa Pag-unlad ng Kanlungang Tubig,” was held in San Mateo, Rizal on 10-12 August 2022.
DENR Undersecretary for Policy, Planning and International Affairs Jonas R. Leones, Regional Executive Director for DENR CALABARZON Nilo B. Tamoria, and Senior Representative of JICA Philippines Yo Ebisawa graced the occasion. They all called for the completion of all activities before the end of the project and the institutionalization of mechanisms to ensure sustainability of project initiatives and investments.
FMP Project Manager Marlon M. Atienza said that the activity was intended to serve as a venue for learning and sharing experiences in the project’s reforestation, enterprise and site development, and capacity building among POs, government agencies and support institutions.
During the sharing and learning session, the Greener Pasture Ad Holnad, Inc. (GPAHI) of Ifugao and the Marandig Upland Sustainable Project Association for Development, Inc. (MUSPAD) of Iloilo showed that networking, partnership and collaboration, and appropriate agroforestry support facilities would offer more economic opportunities to the host communities.
The Don Mariano Perez Farmers Consumers Cooperative (DMPFCC) of Quirino said that based on their experience, forest restoration could be made effective by discouraging unsustainable forest practices through traditional approaches of disincentivizing violators, and strong cooperation with the local government units (LGUs). On the other hand, for Nansiakan-Labang Forestland Management Association, Inc. (NLFMAI) of Nueva Vizcaya, partnership and traditional or conventional practices could lead to effective forest protection, successful teamwork and cooperation, and peaceful resolution of conflicts.
In Nueva Ecija, the Kadangdanglaan Farmers Association, Inc. (KFAI) realizes that approaches in watershed management should be inclusive and that everybody, regardless of gender and age, should be involved for such a cause. This is exemplified by their PO being composed of groups of women and senior citizens who contribute to the sustainable management of forests.
POs with outstanding performance in the implementation of FMP activities and in recognition of their organizational maturity were honored and awarded with “Best FMP PO.” These POs were the following:
- Ifugao – Caba Farmers Multi-Purpose Cooperative (CFMPC);
- Quirino – Baguio Village Integrated Cultural Association, Inc. (BICAS);
- Nueva Vizcaya – Nansiakan-Labang Forestland Management Association, Inc. (NLFMAI);
- Nueva Ecija – Brgy. Salazar Tribal Planting Association, Inc. (BSTPAI);
- Iloilo – Marandig Upland Sustainable Project Association for Development, Inc. (MUSPAD).
Exhibits of products mostly derived from the livelihood and enterprise development of the project, such as coffee, cocoa, ginger, brooms, and native handbags and hats, formed the other highlight of the event.
Lastly, the overall phase-out strategies of FMP were presented as guides for POs in formulating their detailed phase-out plans. The discussions indicated that networking with other support groups would be the main strategy of the POs in ensuring sustainability of their gains from FMP. (FMP/ April Ann Fontanilla)