The increasing concerns in rampant forest destruction and deforestation fuels the need for forestry certification, the Philippines – with threats of adverse climate change impacts of floods and landslides or the impending forest loss from illegal logging- requires the establishment of a country forest certification scheme that will contribute to sustainable forest management.
In a pioneering move to promote forestry conservation, a group of industry and government advocates collectively signed a Memorandum of Understanding and organized the National Governing Board for the establishment of the Philippine Sustainable forest certification System. The signing wwas held last March 1, 2016 at the Richmonde Hotel during the Symposium on the Establishment of a National forest Certification System.
Among the advocates who signed the MOU, led by DENR Forest Management Bureau (FMB) Director Ricardo Calderon were the National President Tommy Valdez of the Society of Filipino Foresters Inc (SFFI), Matimco CEO Charlie Liu of the Philippine Wood Producers Association (PWPA), Dr. Priscila Dolom, Head of the UP Los Banos College of Forestry and Natural Resources-Forestry Development Center (UPLB CFNR-FDC) Ms Gillian Dunuan of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP), Managing Director Antonio Antonio of the Integrated Forest Management Association of the Philippines (IFMAP), Vinancio Cueno of the National Community-Based Forest Management PO Federation of the Philippines (NCBFMPOFPI) and Honorable Secretary Neric Acosta and June Alvarez who is the Chairperson and President respectively of the Philippine Center for Environmental Protection and Sustainable Development Inc (PCEPSDI). Institutional witnesses for the MOU Signing were the Programme for the Endorsement of Forestry Certification (PEFC) International and the Philippine Business for the Environment (PBE).
Under the MOU, the National Governing Board will be the highest decision-making body of the national forest certification scheme, to be called the Philippine Sustainable Forest certification System, which will create the different bodies that will work for pilot projects, standards development and actual certification processes.
In his Inspiration Message, Presidential Adviser for Environment Protection Sec. Neric Acosta said “We need a bolder and more ambitious transformation of stakeholders to embrace sustainable forestry, and the very structure of the forestry sector, ranging from governance to industry, through a national forestry certification” He also reported and showed videos of the recent COP 21 in Paris, and challenged the forestry sector to contribute to the country’s sustainable development.
In the Panel Discussion, FMB Director Calderon said, “Under EO 23 (S.2011), DENR is mandated to implement a national forest certification system to ensure sustainability of legal sources and chain of custody of timber and other wood products and we are now seeking assistance from UPLB and PEFC in its establishment”
SSFI President Valdez presented the proposed road map for the Philippine Sustainable Forest Certification System (PSFCS) which will be the official name of the certification scheme.
The symposium was attended by government, forestry industry leaders and companies, as well as NGOs working in forest-based communities.
The event is sponsored by the Switzerland-based Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC), as a post activity of the Asia Pacific Forestry Week (Feb 22-25, 2016).