Arroyo pushes forest,watershed management vs global warming

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Former President and House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is pushing for the promotion and implementation of sustainable forest and watershed management policies to protect the Filipino people from the impact of global warming.

Arroyo, who served as president from 2001 to 2010 and representative of Pampanga’s Second District from 2010 to 2019, said policies issued during her term in Malacanang Palace aimed to promote watershed-based integrated ecosystems management approach.

She noted that in June 2004, she signed Executive Order No. 318 to promote sustainable forest management in the Philippines, while in November 2005, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources issued Administrative Order No. 2005-23 for the adoption and implementation of collaborative approach to watershed management.

“This is to protect the Filipino people from disasters like floods or landslides and from threats to environmental and economic security like wood and water shortage, biodiversity loss, air pollution and drought,” the former president said.

Arroyo, who seeks to return to Congress, said sustainable forest management is provided in the global plan of implementation of the World Summit on Sustainable Development adopted in Johannesburg as an international strategy for developing and managing forests

Under EO 318, logging or any commercial exploitation of forestry resources in old growth forests, proclaimed watersheds and other areas covered by the National Integrated Protected Areas System is prohibited to ensure the perpetual existence of all native plants and animals.

She said a watershed-based integrated ecosystems management approach is deemed appropriate for sustainable forest management because of the interrelationships and interactions among the various ecosystems of a watershed such as the upland and coastal areas.

The EO also considers watersheds as ecosystem management units managed in a holistic, scientific, rights-based, technology-based and community-based manner and observing the principles of multiple-use, decentralization and devolution and active participation of local government units.

It is also the policy of the government to promote sound, effective and efficient, globally-competitive and equitable forestry practices in both public and private domains.

The EO led to the establishment of tree parks, re-greening and roadside planting of forest species in open and appropriate spaces to mitigate worsening urban air quality and global warming.

Meanwhile, AO 2005-23 aimed to ensure the sustainable use of watershed resources, encourage meaningful and active participation of stakeholders within the watershed and ultimately establish a sustainable and multi-sectoral institution capable of addressing natural resources issues in the watershed.

Arroyo said promoting and enforcing these policies will help the Philippines mitigate the impact of global warming and protect the population from natural risks such as drought and water shortage, flooding and landslide as well as biodiversity loss and pollution.

“It is and should always be the policy of the government to pursue the sustainable management of forests and forestlands in watersheds,” she said.