DENR to hold first-ever Wood Industry Summit

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is holding the first-ever Forestry and Wood Industry Summit that aims to come up with a comprehensive strategy to revitalize the forestry and wood products sector and transform it into a growth industry.

With the theme “Sustainable Forest Management: The Role of Wood Industry in Nation Building,” the summit will be tomorrow (January 29) at the EDSA Shangri-La Hotel in Mandaluyong City. DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu is expected to keynote the event.

Director Nonito Tamayo of the DENR’s Forest Management Bureau (FMB) said the event is pursuant to the 2017-2022 Philippine Development Plan, which highlights the need to strengthen the wood industry through improved funding schemes to support growth, increased promotional and marketing efforts, and expanded research on key issues.

High on the agenda is the declining contribution of the wood industry to the country’s gross domestic product despite the constantly increasing demand for wood and wood-based products, Tamayo said.

According to the FMB chief, the DENR’s combined interest of revitalizing the country’s wood industry and improving the country’s forest health through the implementation of the Expanded National Greening Program or E-NGP “has led to this ground breaking event.”

“The summit will gather different industry players to present and discuss the current policy environment, business trends, and ways forward of the sector in order to develop and implement an effective regulatory and investor-friendly regime that ensure the sustainability of the wood industry in the Philippines,” Tamayo said.

Among the summit participants are the heads of the Community-Based Forest Management People Organizations (CBFM-POs), Philippine Wood Producers Association (PWPA), Chamber of Furniture Industries of the Philippines Inc. (CFIP), and the Industrial Forest Managers of the Philippines Corp. (IFMAP).

Representatives from government agencies, such as the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), are also attending the summit.

Over the years, the Philippines has been dependent on imported wood to meet its domestic wood requirements, causing a huge drain in the country’s dollar reserves. During the period 2006-2015, locally-sourced wood accounted for only 25 percent, or 1.5 million cubic meters, while 75 percent or 4.5 million cubic meters are imported. ### 

DENR: All systems go for ‘Battle for Manila Bay’

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) assured that it is all systems go for the start of the Manila Bay rehabilitation on Sunday, January 27.

The rehabilitation, which DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu dubbed as the “Battle for Manila Bay,” will bring together more than 5,000 participants, mostly personnel from the DENR and 12 other government agencies tasked by the Supreme Court to clean up and rehabilitate Manila Bay in 2008.

“This is a battle that will be won not with force or arms but with the firm resolve to bring Manila Bay back to life,” Cimatu said.

The former Armed Forces chief said that Manila Bay, and the environment in general, “is not a lost cause.”

“With the commitment and determination of every Filipino to do his share in this rehabilitation effort, we have already won the battle for Manila Bay,” he added.

After the launch, simultaneous cleanup activities will be held at the Las Piñas-Parañaque Critical Habitat and Ecotourism Area or LPPCHEA and the Marine Tree Park in Navotas in the National Capital Region.

In Region 3, the rehabilitation will be launched in the towns of Obando, Mariveles and Guagua in Bulacan, Bataan and Pampanga provinces, respectively. Meanwhile, a silt curtain will be laid out around a bridge along Manila-Cavite Expressway or CAVITEX, and a cleanup activity at Talaba Dos in Bacoor, Cavite.

Aside from the DENR, other agencies taking part in the rehabilitation are the Department of Tourism, Department of the Interior and Local Government, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Department of Trade and Industry, Department of National Defense, and Department of Science and Technology.

Also joining are the Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission, Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council, National Housing Authority, Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor, Manila Water Company Inc., Maynilad Water Services Inc., various local government units, non-government organizations, and other stakeholders.

Cimatu said he was grateful for the overwhelming support given by these agencies and all stakeholders for the rehabilitation of Manila Bay.

He said the rehabilitation does not only involve cleanup, but also relocation of illegal settlers and ensuring compliance by establishments around Manila Bay to the Philippine Clean Water Act of 2004 and other environmental laws.

During the launch of the Manila Bay rehabilitation, Cimatu is expected to reveal the names of establishments initially found to be non-compliant with effluent standards under the country’s clean water law.

“We will serve notices of violation to these establishments whose outfalls discharge untreated water to esteros, rivers and other tributaries that flow into Manila Bay,” Cimatu said.

The launch will begin with a Solidarity Walk at 7am from the Quirino Grandstand to the baywalk area in front of the Rajah Sulayman Park.

Cimatu will lead the Pledge of Commitment by all stakeholders and declare the start of the Manila Bay rehabilitation.

The DENR aims to reduce the coliform level in Manila Bay to less than 270 most probable number (MPN) per 100 milliliters (ml) and in all esteros to 100 mpn/100ml.

Earlier this month, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte approved the Manila Bay rehabilitation plan proposed by the DENR and gave a budget allocation of P42.95 billion for three years. ### 

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