President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. on Saturday cited the importance of taking care of the country’s forest cover to spur economic growth and development.
In a media interview in Fort del Pilar, Baguio City, Marcos said the country’s forest cover is a “very valuable asset for the Philippines.”
“You can actually now monetize forest cover. You can give it a peso value, a dollar value,” he said.
“We can take advantage of being more active in promoting and monitoring, regulating, and encouraging the care of our forest cover, of all our environmental assets. It’s very, very important.”
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources oversees 15 million hectares of land classified as forestlands.
In 2011, the country’s forest cover was 6.8 million hectares but it increased by 5.6 percent or 7.2 million hectares, according to the recent 2020 data captured by the National Mapping and Resource Information Authority (NAMRIA).
The DENR has already laid down strategic plans and programs for the forestry sector, which offers strong potential for driving growth to the Philippine economy.
The department also aims to establish a conducive investment climate by developing a real-time, single-point access forestry investment portal that will provide information and services about forestry investment and ready areas for development and utilization.
The portal will have links to financial and credit facilities of partner financial institutions, including the Development Bank of the Philippines, which supports the DENR’s agro-forestry plantation program.
It will also offer access to insurance packages of the Philippine Crop Insurance Corp. for selected tree species in developed forest plantations.
The government would also continue promoting responsible mining to avoid a repeat of mishaps that occurred in the past, Marcos said as he acknowledged the important role of the mining sector in his administration’s plan for the economy.
“And so, it is really a question of enforcing the law in terms of responsible mining and that is what we will continue to do. We will always make sure that the mining companies who come in, once they are finished mining that they leave the site in the same condition as it was when they found it,” he said. (PNA)