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First regional stakeholders consultation for a simplified and harmonized policy for ITP kicks off in Caraga

First regional stakeholders consultation for a simplified and harmonized policy for ITP kicks off in Caraga

For decades, the Philippine government has been promoting and investing in developing the country’s Industrial tree plantations (ITPs) and tree farms. Despite the efforts to boost the ITP industry, the supply gap persists due to policy constraints in producing, harvesting, transporting, processing, and marketing naturally grown timber and wood products. 

For. Tolentino (left) and Dr. Bugayong (right)  while presenting the overview of the project and the highlights of the draft policy, respectively. (Image credit: UPLB-ITP Project Team)

Acknowledging the policy issues in the ITP industry, the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-PCAARRD) supported the project, “Enhancing the Growth of Tree Plantation Industries in the Philippines: Simplification and Harmonization of Policies and Governance along the Value Chain,” implemented by the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) under the leadership of Dr. Leonida A. Bugayong. The project seeks to analyze policies, legal requirements, and governance structures throughout the ITP value chain, and develop and advocate a simplified and harmonized policy for ITP.

Participants and the discussion panel including Dr. Bugayong, Dr. Precy C. Dolom, and For. Tolentino during the open forum.  (Image credit: UPLB-ITP Project Team)

On April 25, 2024, the UPLB project team conducted the first regional stakeholders consultation at the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO) Agusan del Norte Conference Hall, Butuan City, Agusan Del Norte, marking a significant step in refining the draft policy for ITP. The event brought together key stakeholders from various sectors, including government agencies, the private sector, People’s Organizations (POs), and a state university in Caraga Region. 

Notable participants included representatives from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Regional Office; DENR-PENRO of Agusan del Norte; DENR-City Environment & Natural Resources Office (CENRO) of Talacogan, Butuan, Tubod, and Nasipit; Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Caraga; and Caraga State University (CSU). Key DOST-PCAARRD officials/representatives also attended.

Group discussion on issues and problems on harvesting and transport during the workshop activity. (Image credit: UPLB-ITP Project Team)

The event commenced with Officer-In-Charge and PENR Officer Joseph Leo E. Oconer, setting the tone for a fruitful dialogue and collaboration. For. Noel L. Tolentino followed by providing an insightful overview of the project. He emphasized the main objective of the project—to develop and advocate simplified and harmonized policy and governance along the value chain toward the growth of the ITP industry in the Philippines.

Dr. Bugayong then presented the draft policy that had undergone a rigorous review by 24 institutions and organizations comprising the technical working group. The draft policy, covering all stages of the ITP value chain, aims to establish a one-stop-shop mechanism, simplifying processes and facilitating ease of compliance for stakeholders.

After the presentation of the draft ITP policy, an open forum and workshop were conducted to gather the issues and problems encountered in the existing policies and governance systems along the ITP value chain. Specifically, discussions focused on the stages of pre-production, production, harvesting and transport, utilization and processing, and investment, marketing, and sales. Participants and group facilitators proposed recommendations for the identified issues and problems. The outputs were presented and a synthesis concluded the event.

The project team will continue its efforts with two additional regional stakeholder consultation meetings planned for Regions 10 and 11. This initiative will further advance the advocacy for simplified and harmonized policies and governance systems along the ITP value chain, contributing to the growth of the tree plantation industries in the country.