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Results and discussion

Each ENR office was studied in terms of activities on data gathering, organizing, input and maintenance. The type, quality and amount (including location and extent) of data collected were noted through interviews with personnel. Data transfer and information flow from the CENRO was evaluated as these are transmitted to the PENRO; from PENRO to the regional office; from the regional office to the central office and vice versa.

Evaluating the type, quality and amount of data and information collected

Files refer to data and information that are gathered and kept at the respective unit/office. Once these files are sent out in compliance with a directive or following a procedure, they become reports. In other words, reports are received and sent out and when they are archived they become files. The data and information collected at the CENRO level are shown in Table 4.

Table 4. Data and information at the CENRO level

Data and information


Inventory of private tree plantations

Survey of plantation status (including residual inventory)

Private geodetic survey

Forestland grazing lease agreement (FLGLA) data

Price monitoring

List of licensees/permittees

List of reforestation projects

List of people’s organization/ cooperative partnerships

Report on issuances of forestry tenurial instruments (e.g. CBFM)

Confiscation/disposition report

Log production and disposition

Lumber production/disposition

Land report

Reforestation report

Forest production report

Biodiversity monitoring system report

ENR profile

Sectoral monthly accomplishment report (quarterly, semi-annual, annual)

Annual report

Data collected by CENROs differ from those of PENROs, which collate the data gathered by the CENROs. Its main function is supervisory and it compiles the reports/data/information from the different CENROs under it. Local information is available only at the CENRO level.

The central office outlines the programs and activities of the CENROs. For instance, if the CENRO plans to implement activities on maintenance (e.g. timber stand improvement) but the central office intends to carry out roadside planting, adjustments at the CENRO level need to be made specifically in relation to human resources and logistics. That is, CENROs have to adjust their budget because additional funds for roadside planting are not included in their annual budget. In the study, CENROs reported problems in data consolidation. Sometimes data are inadvertently excluded during consolidation.

Maps are also used as references. They are drawn by hand and to date no training on computerized mapmaking (i.e. CAD or GIS) has been conducted. Private tree plantation owners and timber license agreement holders are required to submit operational, logging and development maps. Maps are reproduced by blue printing or by requesting hard copies from an independent or non-government office. PENROs and CENROs may request hard copies of maps from the regional office. Maps are also used as supporting documents for complaints on illegal activities to be filed in court. The types of data collected and stored at the PENRO are listed in Table 5.

Table 5. Data and information at the PENRO level

Data and information


Data on land use (including maps)

PENRO profile


Area coverage data, listings and maps on the various projects/activities/ programs

Operational plans

Progress maps

Consolidated monthly accomplishment report

Statistical report (quarterly)

Price monitoring reports (monthly)

Confiscation and disposition report (monthly)

Statistical profile, every year at the end of June

For data maintenance, some DENR field offices reconstitute/reconstruct maps on tracing paper that bear the recording officer’s signature. They also catalogue reports/records in filing cabinets and computers, if available. A list of data and information held at the Regional Environment and Natural Resources Office (RENRO) is provided in Table 6.

Table 6. Data and information at the RENRO level

Data and information


Data and information on forest management activities such as location, source of lumber, volume, sales, lumber dealer, forest charges, area of operations, timber management plan, private tree plantation, minor forest products, special uses (e.g. salt works, bathing establishments, road right of way, grazing)

Quarterly/annual accomplishment reports

Production reports for SIFMA/IFMA

Monthly production and disposition report

Annual concession report

Monthly production and disposition report

Site assessment report with maps for foreign-assisted projects

Data and information on forest protection activities such as confiscated logs, fire, pests and diseases, cases filed in court, deployment of forest guards

Forest protection report

Data and information on CBFM such as CBFM areas, people’s organizations, resource inventory

PENRO sectoral and annual reports

Watershed management

Watershed profiles

Land evaluation party

Survey reports


Regular reports such as monthly accomplishments, quarterly, semi-annual, annual reports

Statistical reports such as ENR statistical profile, quarterly/annual statistical profile and regional profile

The DENR field offices prepare the following reports regularly: monthly accomplishments, quarterly, semi-annual, and annual reports (see Figure 3). These reports are prepared on the basis of the data and information that are gathered by the respective ENR offices be they community, provincial or regional. Report submission at the CENRO level occurs at the beginning of the month, the fifteenth of the month, quarterly and by semester. At the PENRO level, CENRO reports are reviewed and consolidated before they are submitted to the regional office on the twentieth of the month. At the end of each month, the regional office submits a consolidated report from all PENROs to the central office.

Gaps in data transfer and information flow

Reports are submitted via fax, courier, radio, telephone, and e-mail or by hand. Reports are kept in the record section, if there is one. In retrieving files, the record section officer is delegated as the property custodian, but as the need arises, other employees also help. Logbooks are kept for receiving and releasing communications and reports.

In the forestry sector, the community-based forest management information system (CBFMIS) and forest stock monitoring system (FSMS) are used, although the FSMS has not been implemented widely yet owing to a lack of computers. Even if a computer is available, some staff are not familiar with the use of CBFMIS and FSMS.

CENROs hold refresher courses and briefings or training for their staff. Training is either hosted by the regional office, PENRO or CENRO. Staff are reoriented on their regular functions and updated on other aspects of their duties. Staff are also briefed on special projects. Through special orders, a forest ranger can be transferred as a log scaler. In such situations, the CENRO implements rescheduling and personnel adjustments to avoid total cessation of their regular functions.

Field “truthing” and data discrepancy are also addressed. For example, the data of a particular area submitted to the regional office describe it as forestland but upon field validation the area is discovered to have been converted to a kaingin (slash-and-burn) area. The regional office conducts field validation, and if there are inconsistencies in the data, they return the information to the field office for revalidation. In general, however, there is no standard procedure for data collection, retrieval and overall management. A specific figure, for example on plantation status, may appear in several reports, which makes retrieval and updating a tedious process.

Within the context of the existing reporting system, there appear to be no gaps because the reporting system is followed studiously. The problem, for instance, in generating a forecast based on what has been reported, may not lie in the contents of the report, but the data-generation instruments themselves.

Attribute data and spatial information as an indication of GIS readiness

In the Caraga Regional Office, a GIS database is available in ArcView® format (e.g. shapefiles of municipal roads; national roads; provincial roads; coastlines; rivers/creeks; regional boundaries; provincial boundaries; municipal boundaries; lakes; provinces of Caraga; Caraga Region). Unfortunately, there is no computer specialist for GIS databasing which makes the data vulnerable to corruption and loss.

GIS data structures and analytical techniques are being incorporated gradually, however. Although some GIS encoding is pursued through georeferencing of important GPS points, its use is primarily for cartographic presentations. Despite its availability, GIS use lacks analytical form mainly for the following reasons:

Usually, GIS processing is contracted out to GIS companies. Unfortunately, the GIS service provided is limited by the requirements imposed by the client organization – requirements that are essentially cartographic in nature. In addition, the reports submitted are in paper form and do not permit further analysis. Even if digital files are submitted, the maps are not in GIS format. 

Improving the flow of information

Occasionally the regional office requests a report/data/information from the PENRO but the PENRO passes the retrieval of files to the CENRO, even when the PENRO has its own copy. This problem arises because of the lack of a standard data management system. A system has to be introduced that systematizes data and information collection, retrieval, updating and reporting. Even on a manual basis, if such a system is in place, files and reports can be accessed easily and data duplication and waste of time can be avoided. The importance of a computer-based system similar to CBFMIS or FSMS cannot be overemphasized. Such a system that imposes protocols for data and information handling will facilitate work for everyone. At the same time, the flow of information as outlined in Figure 3 can run smoothly.

Figure 3. Forestry statistical reporting system (after Quintos 2002 )

Quality of policy formulation

The current practice for data and information handling makes it difficult to monitor the important activities of the ENR offices. The implementing rules and regulations (IRR) that are based on policies have to be improved, being cognizant of the local situation. Different CENROs have different problems and situations. There are policies applicable in one CENRO that are not applicable in other CENROs. CENROs should set their goals and targets based on their specific needs and circumstances.

There are questions related to the transport of wood products from narra (Pterocarpus indicus Willd) produced by people’s organizations across provincial borders. As a policy, however, logging of narra is strictly regulated. In effect, policies should be reflective of the true condition of the forest and socio-economic realities. Some policies should be reviewed and revised. Another example is the documentation on the cutting and transport of logs. There are cases where logs have been confiscated because the accompanying documents differ from those belonging to the inspection team.

The most notable policies issued relate to: the statistical reporting system (SRS); the revised price monitoring system (RPMS); the physical performance monitoring system (also covers financial monitoring); and the land classification monitoring system (LCMS), which subsequently was transformed into the forestry statistics monitoring system (FSMS). In terms of forest cover assessment, the FSMS can be very useful. At the moment, however, there is no policy on national inventory although a proposal for one is underway. Assessment of forest cover can also be derived from ongoing and completed special projects, and reports of licensees, including CBFM project reports. Land cover statistics for the country used data from the Philippine-German national forestry inventory project in the 1980s. However, the projection formula has become invalid because logging of old growth forest stopped after 1992. Since 1998, NAMRIA and other stakeholders have tried to devise a new projection model. Care should be taken, however, when new projection models cite increasing forest cover. Such results should be backed up by data collected in the field.

Unfortunately, without a national policy on environment and natural resources (ENR) inventory (at least on forest cover), estimates will not improve. A policy for generating baseline data is lacking and there is no single policy on ENR  assessment. As a policy, all contractors should be required to submit maps in GIS format, preferably ArcView or ArcInfo® – the system that is widely available within the DENR.

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