COTABATO CITY — A forum-seminar entitled “Kalikasang Matatag, Bangsamorong Panatag: Bouncing Back from the Pandemic” was organized by BARMM-MENRE, through the Forest Management Services (FMS) on February 4, 2021, aiming to help address the social and economic impact of COVID-19 pandemic.

The effect of the said health crisis has also reached the indigenous communities living in and near the forestlands, even beyond the urban setting, and there are natural resources potentials that we could tap and optimize to help uplift income and livelihood opportunities for rural communities.

“It is important that we strengthen and expand our knowledge and skills on matters that could help us in this pandemic and create a comprehensive strategy in our environmental conservation and protection as well,” Deputy Minister Akmad A. Brahim said.

Assistant Regional Secretary Alindatu K. Pagayao mentioned that this forum could be the beginning of activities fleshing out the idea of a climate-smart Bangsamoro.

“Guided by the Honorable BARMM Executive Secretary and concurrent MENRE Minister Abdulraof A. Macacua, eventually we can put out there the idea of being climate-smart and establish it in the BARMM,” ARS Pagayao said.

The forum-seminar in Jeehan Function Hall at Alnor Convention Center, spearheaded by FMS Director Abdul-Jalil S. Umngan, tackled subjects on: 1) Agro-Forestry Economic Zone; 2) Localization of National Policies focused on Lapnisan and Indigenous Species as Potential Sources of Biofuel; and 3) Climate-Smart Bangsamoro.

Aleem Siddiqui M. Guiapal, PPRG Group Manager in Philippine Economic Zone Authority; Forester Jose T. Duplito, Jr., Director for Operation in PT Visca FCB Farmtek Indonesia; and Sci. Dpl. Glenn S. Banaguas, Chairman of Asian Science Diplomats offered knowledge on the above-mentioned topics, respectively.

The activity, the first of its own, shall motivate the thirty five (35) participants from the environmental Ministry in the formulation of measures in strengthening forest resources and their proper protection and management, engrained with the notion of achieving a climate-smart region and addressing the impact of the ongoing pandemic.