The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is holding the first-ever Forestry and Wood Industry Summit that aims to come up with a comprehensive strategy to revitalize the forestry and wood products sector and transform it into a growth industry.

With the theme “Sustainable Forest Management: The Role of Wood Industry in Nation Building,” the summit will be tomorrow (January 29) at the EDSA Shangri-La Hotel in Mandaluyong City. DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu is expected to keynote the event.

Director Nonito Tamayo of the DENR’s Forest Management Bureau (FMB) said the event is pursuant to the 2017-2022 Philippine Development Plan, which highlights the need to strengthen the wood industry through improved funding schemes to support growth, increased promotional and marketing efforts, and expanded research on key issues.

High on the agenda is the declining contribution of the wood industry to the country’s gross domestic product despite the constantly increasing demand for wood and wood-based products, Tamayo said.

According to the FMB chief, the DENR’s combined interest of revitalizing the country’s wood industry and improving the country’s forest health through the implementation of the Expanded National Greening Program or E-NGP “has led to this ground breaking event.”

“The summit will gather different industry players to present and discuss the current policy environment, business trends, and ways forward of the sector in order to develop and implement an effective regulatory and investor-friendly regime that ensure the sustainability of the wood industry in the Philippines,” Tamayo said.

Among the summit participants are the heads of the Community-Based Forest Management People Organizations (CBFM-POs), Philippine Wood Producers Association (PWPA), Chamber of Furniture Industries of the Philippines Inc. (CFIP), and the Industrial Forest Managers of the Philippines Corp. (IFMAP).

Representatives from government agencies, such as the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), are also attending the summit.

Over the years, the Philippines has been dependent on imported wood to meet its domestic wood requirements, causing a huge drain in the country’s dollar reserves. During the period 2006-2015, locally-sourced wood accounted for only 25 percent, or 1.5 million cubic meters, while 75 percent or 4.5 million cubic meters are imported. ###