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PBBM: Gov’t can replicate Ilocos Norte forest program to ensure sustainability

MANILA -- The country can adopt a forest management concept developed in Ilocos Norte to ensure the sustainability of forest projects in the Philippines, President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. said on Monday.

The Ilocos project, financed by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), involved tree planting, watershed development and cooperative organization.

Speaking during the celebration of the Philippine Environment Month, Philippine Arbor Day, and the 160th Anniversary of the Philippine Forestry Service held in Quezon City, President Marcos said that as long as people have a sense of ownership and belonging in forest preservation, Filipinos will do everything they can to preserve the ecology, forestland, and biodiversity.

“And the only way that we were able to guarantee that this will be a self-sustaining program, that once we leave, that those locals who live in those areas will actually take care of those trees was to give them a sense of ownership. And we did this simply by saying: ‘These trees are yours. It is up to you to take care of them. It is up to you to use them,’” the President explained.

“And I am happy to be able to report that those trees up to now are growing, are strong, and are continuing to cover a great deal of our forestland and now also the watershed developments that we had started. It is a model that we have to start – that might be a template.”

But it is only a starting point because there are so many different factors in play to make sure that the stakeholders are able to take full advantage of the resources that are available to them to preserve the country’s forestland and to give people a strong sense of ownership.

The President also made renewed call to the environment department, other agencies, the private sector, and the public to work together in protecting the country’s resources.

“I continue to call on the DENR, other agencies, the private sector, and even the public to work together in protecting, preserving, and managing our limited resources,” he said.

“I challenge everyone to carry a deep sense of pride and ownership of the lands that will continue to nurture and feed our nation for generations to come.”

The Philippine Forestry Service — now the Forest Management Bureau — has been on top
of protecting and conserving the country’s forests since 1863 and it is only right that Filipinos commemorate its anniversary to further inspire progress in preserving the trees and forests in the coming years.

During the occasion, the President planted a Molave tree at the DENR’s Environmental Heroes Park.

The DENR is encouraging the public to plant native trees species throughout the country, particularly Molave, Narra and Mountain Agoho to recover and expand forest habitats for threatened native species of plants and animals, protect watershed and freshwater resources, and secure people’s livelihood.

With the theme, ‘Forest for Life’, the 160th anniversary of the Philippine Forestry Service saw the 6th staging of Bike. Hike. Plant. (BHP) spearheaded by the DENR-Forest Management Bureau across the country.

The Spanish government established the Philippine Forestry Service in 1863 by, and was reorganized in 1899 under the government of president Emilio Aguinaldo.

In 1974, the late president Ferdinand E. Marcos issued the Forestry Reform Code of the Philippines, which created the Bureau of Forest Development. In 1987, the Forest Management Bureau was created through Executive Order No. 192.

Today, more than half of the Philippines’ 15,000 hectares of forestland is covered by forests and the country increased its forest cover by about 5 percent between 2010 and 2020. (PND)

About the Author

Kate Shiene Austria

Information Officer III

Information Officer III under the Creative and Production Services Division of the Philippine Information Agency. 

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