MANILA, Feb. 22 (PNA) -- Malacanang on Monday said hosting of this year’s Asia-Pacific Forestry Week will highlight the Aquino administration’s aggressive measures to mitigate climate change and Philippines now the fifth in the world among countries with the largest annual gain in forest area.
Around 1,000 government officials and representatives of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and forest industries coming from over 30 countries are gathering at the Clark Freeport Zone in Pampanga this Feb. 22 to 26 to discuss various 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 Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office (PCDSPO) Undersecretary Manuel L. Quezon III in a Palace press briefing.
Quezon noted that the selection of the Philippines as host country for the event “comes at an opportune time.”
He cited latest report of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) indicating that among the 234 countries surveyed, the Philippines ranks fifth in terms of greatest annual gain in forest area.
Quezon said FAO’s report on the state and development of the world’s forests showed that the Philippines was able to increase its forest area by 240,000 hectares per year, following China, Australia, Chile and the United States from 2010 to 2015.
To achieve this, Quezon further said the Aquino administration has been aggressively pursuing ways to mitigate climate change, both by diversifying the country’s energy resources and protecting its forests.
“As of January 2016, the number of illegal logging hotspots in the country has been reduced by 88 percent, from 197 to 23, while reforestation efforts continue under the DENR’s (Department of Environment and National Resources) Greening Program (NGP),” he noted.
In 2011 to 2015, the Palace official said the NGP program covered more than 1.3 million hectares of land, reflecting an accomplishment rate of more than 100 percent, 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, he added. (PNA)