Between 1996 and 2000, plywood was not a significant export for the Philippines. The total volume for the period was only 56 000 m3, valued at US$19 million (annual average of 11 000 m3/ US$4 million). Almost 93 percent of plywood exports were non-coniferous. Region 13 was the top exporter with 21 000 m3 for the period, valued at US$8 million. Next was Region 10, which exported 20 000 m3 over the five years, worth US$5 million. The other regions such as the NCR, and Regions 2, 7 and 11 shared a small proportion of plywood exports. Taiwan and Japan were the major markets for plywood from the Philippines.
Traditionally, the Philippines has been relatively self sufficient in meeting local plywood demand, and during the five-year period imported only 38 000 m3 worth US$27 million. 95 percent of that imported was coniferous. The NCR and Region 4 where the most urbanised cities are located were the leading importers of plywood. The country bought plywood mainly from Malaysia.
The country exported a total of 7 000 m3 of particle board between 1996 and 2000, amounting to US$3 million. Region 10 exported the largest volume averaging 1 000 m3 per year, worth US$381 000. Region 10’s highest export volume, which equalled almost 52 percent of the national total for the year, was in 1997 (3 000 m3, US$850 000). Region 13 exported about 1 000 m3 or 20 percent of the national total the five year period. The NCR and Region 7 exported in small amounts worth US$31 000. Taiwan and Japan were the leading markets for particleboard.
Imports of particleboard were consistently maintained during the period with a total volume of 157 000 m3 valued at US$32 000. Region 1 was the leading importer of particleboard with 48 percent followed by Region 4 with 43 percent.
The Philippines exported fibreboard only in 1997. The volume was less than 100 m3 and the value US$8 000, the importer was Taiwan.
A total volume of 544 000 m3 of fibreboard worth US$95.3 million was imported between 1996 and 2000. Medium density fibreboard (MDF) was the most sought after among all fibreboards with imports totalling of 435 000 m3 worth US$67.7 million, (71 percent of the total fibreboard imports). Hardboard imports totalled 81 000 m3 (15 percent), while insulating board accounted for 14 percent of imports. The NCR was the major importer of the three types of fibreboard (73 percent of the total) followed by Region 7 (22 percent). Taiwan, Macau, Malaysia and Indonesia were the major suppliers of fibreboard to the country.
Wood pulp exports totalled less than one thousand MT over the five year period and were worth US$592 000. The NCR was the leading exporter of these products taking almost 87 percent of the total volume exported. Thailand and Singapore were the major markets for wood pulp and recovered paper from the Philippines.
Among the wood pulps imported during the period under review, chemical sulphate bleached pulp was the biggest in terms of volume and value. A total volume of 360 000 MT worth US$201 million was. Over the five years imports declined at an annual average of 26 percent. The NCR took the bulk of imports with 96 percent; Regions 3, 4, 11 and 13 shared the remainder. The chemical sulphate unbleached pulp imported by the NCR came a far second with a total volume of 38 000 MT, valued at US$17.6 million. Chemical sulphite bleached and unbleached pulps had a combined five-year import total of 8 000 MT or US$4.3 million.
About 99 percent of pulp exported by the Philippines was non-wood pulp from bagasse, rice straw, etc. Total other pulp exported was 70 000 MT, worth US$181 million or an average of 14 000 MT per year with a value of US$36 million. The NCR exported about 89 percent of the total the rest, in minimal amounts, came from Regions 3, 4, 5, 7, 10 and 11.
The country, mostly the NCR and Region 13, also imported other pulp, with a combined record of 4 000 MT worth US$4.6 million. Import of other pulp exhibited a significant upswing of 538 percent in 1998 but slowed in 2000 by 56 percent.
Recovered paper was exported with a five-year total of 14 000 MT valued at US$1.8 million. The NCR was the major exporter to the tune of 14 000 MT or 95 percent of the total, amounting to US$1.7 million. The highest recorded recovered paper exportation was in 1997 with a weight of 9 000 MT, giving total foreign exchange earnings of US$880 000.
A total of 1.5 million MT of recovered paper, valued at US$288 million, were imported, mostly by the NCR. The imports were mostly from Indonesia, New Zealand, USA, Canada and South Africa.
Paper and paperboard
Among paper products, newsprint was the leading export. A total of 335 000 MT of newsprint were exported, earning a total revenue of US$151 million or an average of 67 000 MT per annum. The NCR, where most of the paper mills were located exported 99 percent of the five-year total with 333 000 MT. Regions 3, 4, 11 and 12 shared the other 1 percent. Neighbouring Asian countries, such as China, Thailand, Singapore, Hong Kong, etc. were the major destinations for newsprint. The uncoated wood free paper was also a consistent export with a total volume of less than 1 000 MT worth US$3.6 million, mostly dominated by the NCR. The uncoated mechanical and the coated papers, again from the NCR, gained total export earnings of US$425 000. Sanitary and household paper exports were minimal with an average value of US$17 000 for the five-year period.
Among the packaging materials, wrapping papers registered the greatest export quantity at 35 000 MT, amounting to US$9 million. Exports were again dominated by the NCR. The five-year period saw significant growth in export of this product group from less than 100 MT to 17 000 MT in 2000. The other paper and paperboard, not elsewhere specified, was also exported at an average of around 1 000 MT per year; the NCR dominated export of these products.
Paper and paperboard products occupied the top slot among national forest-based imports during the five-year period and had the largest requirement in terms of financial outlay. From 1996 to 2000, a total volume of 2.1 million MT of paper and paperboard products, worth US$1.3 billion, were imported, giving annual averages of 419 000 MT and US$259 million. Packaging materials, of which case materials constituted the bulk, had the highest import total with 1.5 million MT, amounting to US$789 million. The NCR shared 40 percent and Region 11, 27 percent of total case materials imports. 588 000 MT of graphic papers were imported over the five year period, with a total value of US$479 million. Coated papers constituted the greatest proportion with 312 000 MT followed by uncoated wood free paper with 209 000 MT. Other paper and paperboard had a total volume of 141 000 MT worth US$183 million. The NCR recorded the highest import for all paper and paperboard products. Thailand, Japan, Taiwan, USA, Korea, Netherlands and New Zealand were the major suppliers of these products to the Philippines.
Production data are based on administrative reports produced by the DENR Regional Offices’ as part of their monitoring and regulatory functions. These data are reported in accordance with the DENR Statistical Reporting System (SRS) and are compiled from reports of licensees and permit holders from the community and the private sector. To generate reliable data, existing methodologies under the system are regularly reviewed and updated to reflect changes in the forestry sector. The system prescribes standard formats to facilitate data compilation and analysis. There are eight prescribed formats to collect information on monthly production of forest products namely: log, lumber, veneer, plywood, particleboard, fibreboard, blockboard and the non-timber forest products. These forms are regularly reviewed and revised to take note of policy changes affecting production of forest products and user’s feedback, etc. The present forms are adequate for stakeholder’s information needs, such as production volume, species and type of forest and type of license, in the case of logs. The data are validated once a year prior to analysis and dissemination.
Regarding other sources of production data, the Forest Stocks Monitoring System (FSMS) can function complementarily with the SRS. To facilitate compilation of reports, user-friendly computer programs have been developed to minimise errors in data processing.
Furthermore, submission of reports has improved considerably with the adoption of a rating system that gives incentives to the best performing regions. Annual assessment of the timeliness and completeness of reports is undertaken through dialogue with the field personnel. Thus, the system is well rated in terms of coverage.
Although there are still one or two regions that are remiss in submission of reports, the overall degree of compliance to the system is highly satisfactory. Overall, production data for most forest products have the same high level of reliability. The only exceptions are woodfuel, other industrial roundwood and wood charcoal, where data capture is incomplete. It is a known fact that the greater part of woodfuel production is unreported as it is collected by households for home use from private lands. Wood charcoal and other industrial roundwood are also mostly sourced from private lands and unreported.
The FMB has no control over the generation of trade data since the NSO is the sole agency mandated to compile foreign trade statistics. Trade data are based on import and export documents submitted to the Bureau of Customs, as required by law. There are several copies of these documents one of which goes to the NSO for compilation. Data processing is done using computers and comprises several stages: coding, code verification, computation and computation verification. Quality control of coding and computations is through sample verification. To improve the quality of their work, processors are given continuous training on systems operation. From the basis of the methodologies used for compilation, trade data are assessed as being reliable. However, the presence of illegal trade cannot be discounted, and hence, in some instances, there may be discrepancies when comparing data between countries.
Notwithstanding the capability of the present statistical systems to produce information, there is considerable room to improve the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of the system. Constraints on the statistical system are outlined in the following sections.
Fragmented Information Systems
A glaring weakness in the current forest statistics set-up is that there is no single information system covering all DENR data. The system is characterised by small, activity-focused applications and data compilation is slowed by the need to go from one concerned office to another. Furthermore data generated by the different applications are often conflicting and difficult to reconcile.
GIS systems developed and maintained in the Central Office are also fragmented and non-complimentary. Different offices/units within the DENR generate their own digitised data, which often results in overlapping and conflicting statistics.
Funding is a perennial constraint in data collection, especially in the field offices where funds are insufficient to allow regular monitoring. Data gathering and monitoring are therefore usually derivative of other activities and thus have low priority. Lack of funds also curtails monitoring in remote areas and thus affects timely submission of reports. Additionally, some data, such as those collected through forest inventory, are rather costly to generate (Durst and Enters, 2001). This has resulted in there having been only two nation-wide forest inventories in the Philippines since 1965, the latest having been conducted with German Government assistance in 1988.
Though data processing and analysis are generally facilitated by the use of computers in Central Office, some field offices still have not acquired computers and GIS equipment due to funding constraints. Others have computers but in insufficient numbers to service all computing needs.
Skills and training
Inadequate skill in data collection and analysis greatly affect the generation of reliable statistics, especially in field offices. Training in the use of computer applications is not regularly extended to statistical personnel and, in some instances when training is conducted, personnel attending are not necessarily from the statistical units.
In the Central Office, the Forest Economics Division of the FMB is the central repository of forestry statistics and provides IT assistance to the Director. There is, however, inadequate support for systems development in terms of training and skills enhancement for such activities.
In the field offices, statistical systems are beset by problems related to the rapid turnover of statistical staff due to the absence of permanent positions. There are not permanent statistical units in the lower organisational levels and the ad hoc units created in 1989 are mostly ineffective due to high staff turnover. Personnel assigned to statistical work are often hired temporarily or hold permanent positions but have multiple assignments. Furthermore, when personnel move from a post, replacements are usually not trained in statistical work and thus continuity is affected.
Low regard for statistics
There is a general perception that statistical work is of less important than other activities. This may result from a lack of understanding of the reasons for data collection and how data can be used to assist in fulfilling various mandated activities. At present, statistics are collected for the sake of compliance with orders and little regard is paid to the quality of data being generated.
The current forestry statistical system has improved greatly over recent years with the advent and spread of information technology. However, there are still problems that continue to adversely affect generation of reliable and timely forestry statistics. These problems may be addressed by the following:
Durst, P. & Enters, T., 2001. Ten Reasons Why We Know Less about Forestry in Asia Than We Should. In Forest Policies and Forest Policy Reviews, Enters T. and Leslie R.N. (eds.) Workshop Proceedings No. 2, EC-FAO Partnership Programme. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Bangkok. pp. 19-25.
Department of Energy. 1995. 1995 Household Energy Consumption Survey, Metro Manila.
Forest Management Bureau. 1990. The Master Plan for Forestry Development, Main Report, Quezon City, Philippines, 1990.
Forest Management Bureau. 2000. The Philippine Forestry Statistics, 2000, Quezon City.
Forest Management Bureau. 2001. Thrusts and Policy Directions, The Philippine Forestry Sector, 2001-2008 and Beyond 2008, Quezon City.
National Statistics Office. Unpublished Trade Statistics, 1991-2000. Manila.
National Statistical Coordination Board. 1999. Philippine Statistical Yearbook, City of Makati.