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RPS 2019-03: Forest Protection in the Philippines: Policy Evolution and Sector Outcomes

The Philippines has a total land mass of 30 million hectares, 52.7 percent of which is classified as forestlands. Various management strategies have been laid in place through policies and laws to protect the forestlands, but forest degradation and extractive industry-focused legislations have significantly contributed to the loss of forest cover. To address these problems, three forest protection initiatives were looked into across three case study areas, namely, tenurial arrangements, apprehension and enforcement mechanisms, and the National Greening Program (NGP). Lapses in the implementation process characterized by the absence of site-species matching and failure to incorporate site demographics and topographical issues, and weak institutionalization of the legal support, particularly at the subnational level, remained present. In response, best practices were identified from each area and recommendations were drawn to improve the current policy landscape. These included the use of controlled use zones as management tool, stronger interface with local stakeholders, strengthening of legal support for City Environment and Natural Resources Office, use of Electronic Filing and Monitoring System portal, institutionalization of the Lawin Program, practice of site-species matching, and stronger stakeholder participation in the NGP. Reforms in the structure of oversight agencies and an update in the national baseline policy were sought in the form of an Environmental Protection and Enforcement Bureau proposal and the persistent lobbying for the Sustainable Forest Management Bill.

Philippine Institute for Development Studies
Authors Keywords
Domingo, Sonny N.; Manejar, Arvie Joy A. ; land use; National Greening Program; extractive industry; sustainability; forest protection; forestlands; Sustainable Forest Management Bill;
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