PWPA Meets with DENR Undersecretary Marlo Mendoza
Philippine Wood Producers Association (PWPA) Vice Chair Ramon Uy, Executive Director Maila Vasquez and Manager Regino Serafico met with Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Undersecretary for Policy and Planning Marlo Mendoza again last February 28, 2017 to discuss how the PWPA and the DENR can continue its collaboration for the improvement of the wood industry.
At the onset, PWPA Vice Chair Uy inquired about the news about the pronouncement of His Excellency,President Rodrigo Duterte about the issuance of a total logging ban law in the country which Undersecretary Mendoza said that the DENR has already presented with the President that there is already an existing logging ban in the country and disallowing the cutting of plantation forests will not be advantageous to the country.
Though DENR policies have not yet changed, Mendoza updated the PWPA with the efforts they are doing to facilitate the improvement of their services to their clients. He added he wants to revise the guidelines on the Industrial Forest Management Agreement (IFMA) to make it more responsive to the current situation and also consider social justice as one of its focal points. He requested the PWPA to take the lead with the Forest Management Bureau (FMB) and suggested to meet with the FMB on how the workshop will proceed.
Mendoza emphasizes the need to promote Industrial Tree Plantation (ITP) not only to provide the industry with the much needed raw materials but most important is the livelihood it will provide to the communities surrounding the ITP areas. He added that aside from livelihood, which could be on short-, medium- and long-term, the establishment of many ITPs will also promote greening and social justice.
He then opened up his idea about liberating the requirements for the harvesting of tree in plantations. He said that the planters will just have to register the trees that they have planted. However, he added, that once apprehended for violation, the source, the seller, and the buyer will also be included in the filing of cases. He added a one strike policy shall be strictly implemented. He said he would want to seek the help of the PWPA to police its implementation.
He said that with less regulations and requirements, there will be more people and investors who will be encouraged to plant trees.
Mendoza also have the idea of the private sector and the community entering into a joint venture where the DENR can provide funds for the community while the private sector will be responsible for providing inputs to ensure quality trees that could be used by the industry.
Uy said that the move will be widely accepted and agreed that it will encourage more people and investors to go into tree plantation development. He also seconded the one strike policy and ensure the PWPA’s support in its implementation.
Uy added that establishment of ITPs is very much needed by the industry considering that majority of the raw materials were imported already and the country and the community were not getting its benefits when raw materials are imported. When the country produces its own raw materials, there is inclusive growth.
With regards to the workshop Mendoza is suggesting, Uy said that the PWPA is open to take the lead together with FMB in the workshop revising the guidelines on IFMA. He said PWPA will set a meeting with the FMB so that the mechanics and the like will be discussed, among other details. The good undersecretary will be informed once arrangements are finalized.