FMB Pushes EO on Forestry Certification Body

After more than 20 years of advocating for the passage of the Sustainable Forestry Management Act in Congress to no avail, the Forestry Management Bureau (FMB), a unit of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), is pushing with urgency the signing of an Executive Order that would help achieve, to a significant degree the national vision of sustainable Philippine forests.

Establishing a national system for wood certification, according to FMB Director Ricardo Calderon would achieve the twin goals of legality and sustainability in the management of the country’s forests, whether primary, residual, secondary, or plantation. Calderon, speaking before an information and awareness seminar conducted by the Philippine Center for Environment Protection and Sustainable Development, Inc. (PCEPSDI) in partnership with the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC), a Swiss-based international forestry certification group, would, in the absence of a Congressional act, enable the Philippine wood industry and allied businesses to cope with anticipated competition in the wake of ASEAN integration this 2015.

A PEFC-modeled wood certification system which is a requirement for ASEAN integration has been pilot tested by the FMB in identified forests in the islands of Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao and proven feasible, according to Fe Oliveros of said office. The FMB’s successful piloting of the chain of custody certification process recommended by the PEFC is the basis for the DENR endorsement of the signing of an executive order creating a multi-stakeholder National Governing Body that would start the process of consultation among government, private business, forestry professionals, and local people’s organisations with the view of crafting a National Forestry Certification system that is participative, socially acceptable, and adapted to Philippine realities.

The PEFC is one of two international groups engaged in the promotion and implementation of forestry certification system which advocates for a bottom-up formulation process in the crafting of national forestry certification systems. PEFC Chief Executive Officer Ben Gunneberg and other officers of the group is in the Philippines for an information and awareness campaign among government forestry agencies, forestry professionals, businessmen, and environmental groups.

June Alvarez, Executive Director of PCEPSDI, principal seminar organizer, says that the forestry seminar is a pre-event activity of the Kalikasan GP3 Expo and Conference on Climate Smart Businesses and Green Consumerism that opened on June 23-25, 2015 at the SMX Convention Center, SM Aura in Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City.  S. A. MABLE

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