The launching of the B+WISER success story book, In the Heart of the Forest, and the ceremonial planting of Kamagong tree seedlings were held jointly last December 3, 2018 at the DENR Central Office, Quezon City. The event was held right after the DENR flag ceremony and was graced by the USAID/Philippines Environment Office Chief John Edgar, the B+WISER Program Chief of Party Roberto Rapera, the FMB Director Nonito Tamayo, and the Chief of Staff and Undersecretary Rodolfo Garcia, representing the DENR Secretary. All other DENR Officials and personnel were also present at the event.
The B+WISER success story book, In the Heart of the Forest, is about different people in different walks of life, with inspiring stories of success and commitment in protecting and conserving our forests and biodiversity. It is a tribute to people that the USAID and the DENR have proudly worked with over the six-year project implementation of the B+WISER Program.
The Kamagong tree seedlings were presented by Eco-Rangers to the DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu and the U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim during the close-out event of the B+WISER Program last October 11.
In his welcome message, Director Tamayo gave a brief background and some key accomplishments of the Program. He said that the Book acknowledges the milestones of the Program, but it also aims to inspire more people to engage in forest protection and biodiversity conservation.
The planting of Kamagong tree seedlings, according to USec Garcia, is a symbol of solidarity in working together towards the protection of forests. The book, on the other hand, preserves the memories of success. He also mentioned in his message his support and encouragement in sharing beautiful stories to others as it will serve as an inspiration and motivation in the protection and conservation of forests and biodiversity.
Mr. Edgar mentioned in his message that after a brief experience as a patroller, he got a deeper appreciation of each unique story in the book and an utmost respect for every individual who works tirelessly to conserve the forest. He said that all the stories are inspiring, and collectively, it demonstrates the strength of the Filipino. Moreover, he also mentioned that the Kamagong tree or “iron wood” is known to grow high and strong which makes it even more a fitting representation of our steadfast commitment to the environment.
Mr. Edgar, and USec Garcia signed and exchanged copies of the Book. Along with Director Tamayo, they planted the Kamagong tree seedlings at the Heroes Park, behind the DENR Central Office building.