MANILA, Philippines (PIA) — Malacañang on Monday welcomed the foreign and local delegates of the 2016 Asia-Pacific Forestry Week which will be held at the Clark Freeport Zone in Pampanga.
In a statement, Undersecretary Manuel Quezon III said more than 1,000 government officials and representatives of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and forest industries from over 30 countries are attending the event where they will discuss issues affecting the management of natural resources in the region.
“This week we are welcoming more than 1,000 government officials and representatives of NGOs and forest industries for the 2016 Asia-Pacific Forestry Week. Coming from over 30 countries, these delegates are gathering at the Clark Freeport Zone in Pampanga to discuss a host of issues affecting the management of natural resources in the region. With a focus on “growing our future,” the 2016 Forestry Week will allow us to not only share our experiences on reforestation but also learn from our partners on how we can work together to better safeguard our planet,” said Quezon the statement.
Quezon said that the selection of the Philippines as host country for the event comes at an opportune time when the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in its latest report on the state and development of the world’s forest announced that the Philippines ranked fifth among 234 countries surveyed in terms of greatest annual gain in forest areas.
“In its latest report on the state and development of the world’s forests, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) found that among the 234 countries surveyed, the Philippines ranks fifth in terms of greatest annual gain in forest area. From 2010 to 2015, we were able to increase our forest area by 240,000 hectares per year—a number beaten by only four other nations: China, Australia, Chile, and the United States,” said Quezon.
Quezon also noted the government’s effort to mitigate climate change by diversifying energy resources and protecting forests.
“Under the Aquino administration, our government has been aggressively pursuing ways to mitigate climate change, both by diversifying our energy resources and protecting our forests,” Quezon said.
He added that as of January 2016, the number of illegal logging hotspots in the country has been reduced by 88%, from 197 to 23, while reforestation efforts continue under the DENR’s National Greening Program (NGP).
“From 2011-2015, the program covered more than 1.3 million hectares of land,” he said. “This reflects an accomplishment rate of more than 100%, as only 1.2 million hectares had been targeted for the period. In total, the NGP aims to reforest 1.5 million hectares of denuded and degraded land nationwide.” (PCOO/PND)