COTABATO CITY — The Provincial ENRE Offices of the Environment Ministry get oriented on the Technical Assistance on the Preparation of Municipal Forestland Use Plans (FLUP) as part of the activities that will be conducted in celebration of the Philippine Environment Month 2022. This FLUP activity, organized by the MENRE-Forest Management Services (FMS), aims to ensure the establishment of the best uses of forestlands in the Bangsamoro region and the allocation of the resources therein to responsible resource managers under different forms of tenure.

“Through this activity, we envision to strengthen our approach with our LGUs and other stakeholders in assigning forests and forest lands under various tenure, management, or allocation arrangements,” MENRE Minister Akmad A. Brahim said.

“It is important to clearly establish what our roles would be in the development of FLUPs. It is also vital that we strengthen our inter-Ministry collaboration as we exchange experiences, knowledge, methodologies, and good practices,” MEBRE Director General Atty. Badr E. Salendab added.

FMS Director Abdul-Jalil S. Umngan additionally shared that according to the Republic Act 11054 or the Bangsamoro Organic Law, one of the goals of the Bangsamoro is to improve the lives of its people by carefully planning for the environment, referring to Article XIII, Section II of the BOL:

“In order to protect and improve the quality of life of its inhabitants, the development in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region shall be carefully planned taking into consideration the ecological balance and the natural resources that are available for its use and for the use of future generations.

”Further, Community ENRE Officer of Lanao del Sur 2nd District Forester Benjamin D. Alangca carried the two-day capacity development activity as the resident expert on FLUP, serving as the main and only lecturer for his fellow officials from the provincial offices. Some of the discussions he led were on 1) Sustainable Forest Management Roadmap; 2) conducting situational analysis for forest land use planning; and 3) drafting, legitimization, and approval of FLUP.

CENREO Alangca shared that “following Executive Order No. 318 (Promoting Sustainable Forest Management in the Philippines), Local Government Units are mandated to integrate FLUPs into their comprehensive land use plans or CLUP.

”Hence, the MENRE shall be the lead in ensuring that BARMM municipalities will be able to craft their respective FLUPs.

“We aim to conduct the FLUP study, review and be informed of the FLUP ecosystem, set our deliverables, and identify each of the PENREO’s proposed LGU partner. In fact, this Orientation, coinciding with the celebration of Philippine Environment Month, launches the series of activities that focus on the development of FLUPs,” Umngan added.

Only 3 out of 116 municipalities in BARMM have formulated and legitimized their municipal Forest Land Use Plan. These are Wao in Lanao del Sur, North Upi in Maguindanao and Lamitan City in Basilan. The need to formulate the municipal FLUPs of the entire BARMM is necessary to sustain the watersheds, ecological services, and protection of the remaining natural resources of the province.

As stated by Administrative and Finance Services Director Al-Sharif M. Tamburani during his closing remarks, “We have to lead in encouraging the local government executives to support the creation of Forest Land Use Plan. Being a part of our mandate to conserve, protect, and preserve the environment, we have to protect the people’s right to have a balanced and healthy environment.”