Solon pushes creation of Forest Management and Development Authority

MANILA-- A partylist lawmaker at the House of Representatives is seeking the creation of a new state firm that will lead the sustainable management and development of forest resources in the country.

ANGKLA Partylist Rep. Jesulito Manalo has filed House Bill 5946 proposing to create the Forest Management and Development Authority (FMDA), attached to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

Under the bill, the FMDA will be the frontline implementing agency for the sustainable nationwide administration and implementation of the country's Master Plan for Forestry Development, the Forest Resources Database and Monitoring System, and the National Greening Program.

Other programs shall include the Watershed Continuum Management Strategy, the National Watershed Framework Plan, the National Watershed Information System, and national programs on the sustainable management and development of forest resources.

Furthermore, the FMDA shall conduct performance reviews of Industrial Tree Plantations and provide technical expertise, training, and other forms of assistance to local government units, forest management committees, city or municipal environment and natural resources offices, and the Philippine National Police.

The proposed FMDA is given corporate powers and the status of a government-owned and controlled corporation. The proposed body shall be governed by a Board of Directors and headed by the Environment Secretary as Chairman.

The FMDA will not absorb existing offices and their personnel wholesale as has been the practice in the past whenever the government creates a new agency.

At present, there is an existing Forest Management Bureau (FMB) that provides technical guidance to the central and field offices for the effective protection, development, and conservation of forest lands and watersheds.

The FMB, which is under the DENR, recommends policies and programs towards the achievement of sustainable forest management, based on science and principles of good forest governance.

Source: Philippines News Agency

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