DENR Reaffirms Commitment to Protect Country’s remaining Natural Forests

Photo Caption: Assistant Director Mayumi Quintos-Natividad of the Forest Management Bureau highlights the gains achieved by DENR in more than one year of Lawin implementation.

During an assessment and strategic planning workshop held in Ortigas, Manila, on 21 to 22 September, the DENR showcased results of its data-driven forest protection system and reaffirm its commitment to conserve the remaining natural forests in the country.

“As we see increased patrol distance coverage, the number of threats observed per kilometer shows a downward trend. To us this means that the use of technology and enhanced presence of forest patrollers in the forest through Lawin are effective deterrents”, Mayumi Quintos-Natividad, Assistant Director of the Forest Management Bureau acknowledged during her Opening Remarks.

“Strengthening forest protection lies at the apex of the DENR Secretary’s program for the department and Lawin is a big part of it,” Assistant Secretary Cora Davis, of the Policy and Planning Services added. Assistant Secretary Davis shared to the participants that in line with strengthening forest protection, the Secretary is exploring four initiatives: explore the provision of hazard pay to forest rangers, deploy a lawyer in every CENRO to handle cases of violations of environmental laws, track if forest rangers are performing the tasks outlined in their job descriptions and promote stronger inter-agency coordination.

Attended by more than 100 participants from the 17 DENR regions, apart from reviewing accomplishments and challenges, the workshop also formulated strategies on how the DENR Central Office can further support field offices in protecting the country’s remaining 7 million hectares of natural forests. The DENR’s proposed budget for forest protection for 2018 is Php 1 billion, a 40% increase from last year’s budget. USAID’s Biodiversity and Watersheds Improved for Stronger Economy and Ecosystem Resilience (B+WISER) work closely with DENR to implement the country’s forest protection strategy.

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Photo caption:Assistant Secretary Cora Davis enumerated the initiatives of DENR in strengthening forest protection under the leadership of DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu.