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4. Session 2: Policies and strategies

4.1 Presentation by resource speakers
4.2 Reactions from the panelists

This session highlighted the policies and strategies related to wood energy development in the Philippines. Ms. Susana Cahig acted as moderator and the rapporteurs were Ms. Felicisima V. Arriola and Ms. Isabelita O. Labus. The key points raised in the paper presentations and in the resulting discussions are summarized here.

4.1 Presentation by resource speakers

a. Master Plan for Forestry Development by Dr. Sofio Quintana of FMB-DENR..

This presentation focused on the wood energy component of the MPFD. The MPFD, which covers a 25-year period from 1991-2015, spells out the goals and objectives of the country's forestry sector. It consists of three programmes: man and environment; forest management and products development; and institutional development.

The plan indicates that biomass fuels, mainly fuelwood from forest lands, provide a large percentage of the country's energy needs. The plan states that fuelwood deficits are very evident. It was estimated that at least 300,000 hectares have to be converted to fuelwood plantations to cover half of the deficit with the other half being covered by other sources of energy.

The following strategies were recommended: (a) species with proper choice of tree species such as: multi-purpose tree species, nitrogen-fixing species, species with high coppicing ability, high calorific value species (b) adoption of cost-effective technology; (c) adoption of appropriate silvicultural technologies; incorporation of fuelwood into the agroforestry system; (e) improvement of seed supply; (f) development of people-oriented approaches, e.g., tax incentives, tenurial arrangements; and (g) reconciliation of information/data to make adjustments to formulate appropriate policies.

b. National New and Renewable Energy Programme by Reuben Emmanuel T. Quejas of DOE-NCED.

The presentation traced the evolution of the non-conventional energy programme which has undergone three changes of direction since 1977. As part of this programme various projects and activities which have significantly contributed to the increased utilization of new and renewable energy sources in the country have been implemented.

The new phase of the programme called the NRE Programme has the planning horizon of 1995-2000. This phase has the goal of increasing the application of NRES to support economic, social and environmental development. The NREP seeks to attain this goal through four interrelated strategies: Technology Sub-Programme, Area-Based Energy Sub-Programme, Promotion Sub-Programme and Commercialization Sub-Programme, each aimed at addressing a specific concern of the NREP.

Given the accomplishments of the past programmes, this new phase will now try to build on and sustain them. Various projects and activities are planned to ensure that the use of NRES is further increased, but their technical, financial, social and environmental feasibility is always taken into account.

c. Study Towards the Formulation of a National Fuelwood Policy by Ms. Ruby T. Buen of the Planning and Policy Studies Office, DENR.

The study, contracted out by the DAP to the DENR, had the overall objective of generating policy measures that would address the rural/urban energy supply and the sustainable management of forests resources.

The study pointed out that if the 1990 energy mix is adjusted to incorporate fuelwood consumption, indigenous energy will have a share of 57%, of which fuelwood represents 60% or 34% of the total energy mix. It also identified that the DOE, its ANECs, the DENR, the ITDI and FPRDI of the DOST are among the key agencies involved in the fuelwood sector. Yet the study revealed that there is still no specific entity designated to be directly responsible for supervising and coordinating fuelwood related programmes and projects. In addition, it was noted that there is a need to involve the DA and the DAR in the management of A&D lands which supply significant amounts of fuelwood.

The study also reported a large discrepancy between the PHESS and the MPFD on the supply estimates of fuelwood. This is because: (1) PHESS considered all biomass resources while MPFD considered only fuelwood resources; (2) the accessibility factor was included in the MPFD estimate whereas the PHESS estimate was based on the potential woody biomass yield per unit of each type of land use and thus did not only reflect the accessible sustainable supply. The study recommended policy options that will directly address the improvement of the fuelwood supply.

4.2 Reactions from the panelists

These can be summarized as follows:

The MPFD is being used by DENR to manage the timberland areas of the country which comprise 50% of the total land area. The MPFD has been condensed into provincial and regional master plans which are used to allocate the resources of the timberland areas. Areas with 0%-18% slope will be transferred to private ownership. The remaining areas will be categorized as timberland areas.

Occupants within the 18% slope are given the privilege to plant, cut and market fuelwood with minimal government intervention. On the other hand, cutting or planting of fuelwood in timberland areas is subject to government restriction.

DENR policy now is to give certificates of stewardship to land owners occupying portions of the timberland areas. All plantations therein are covered by the CLT, the tenurial instrument issued through the ISF. Through the CLTs forest occupants will enjoy the same benefits as occupants of titled lands.

The people are given the privilege of harvesting resources like timber, fuelwood, rattan, bamboo through a permit of lease. These TLA holders are given a maximum of 1 million cubic meters of natural forest species to harvest within one year.

All DENR projects in the upland areas should adopt a community-based approach. Thus, everybody in the upland area will be able to manage their resources with a minimum of government intervention.

On the other hand, areas with slopes above 50%, those with 1,000 meters elevations, old growth forests and critical watershed areas are considered prohibited zones. Planting of wood in these areas for fuelwood purposes has to be regulated.

Recommendations were given on how to improve forest management and utilization in relation to wood energy:

Rely on fast-growing species so that the volume needed by the country can be satisfied without pressure on the natural stand.

Conduct research on fuelwood substitutes and assist users of these substitutes.

Assist farmers to look for other livelihood activities to lessen dependence on fuelwood.

Establish agroforestry schemes in areas between 18-35% slope within timberland areas,. The present policy of DENR is that 20% of the area should be planted with trees and 80% for agricultural purposes. Areas with 35-50% slope should concentrate on forest plantations in order not to induce soil erosion.

Adopt policies addressing the plight of untenured occupants within the critical zones since people in these upland areas are part of the ecosystems and they have been there even before the areas were proclaimed watershed areas.

Extend authority to people in the upland areas, including indigenous people, to manage their resources under the concept of people empowerment.

The downtrend in the contribution of renewable energy underscores the need to intensify efforts to develop, promote and commercialize NRES.

Recommendations cited in the MPFD are necessary and there is a need for better coordination among national government agencies including LGUs, NGOs and the private sector to reconcile fuelwood energy data to achieve the objectives of the program.

For planning purposes, care should be taken when we talk of excess supply of fuelwood since there may be cases when a surplus of fuelwood in one area may not easily meet a deficit in another area due to distance and the economics of transporting it.

The group was enjoined to make a stand on the policy options mentioned in the paper by Ms. Buen and determine which can be done in the medium - or long-term and which needs legislative action.

An area-based energy program is a very worthy concept. A participatory approach is crucial to any sustainable development but support mechanisms must be instituted by the government and other concerned groups to maximize meaningful participation.

It has been observed that many policies are sufficient but the problem is how to implement them.

As experienced in Region VII, incorporating fuelwood into a farm or watershed plan may be an important consideration. Technical people from DENR and DA can look into this possibility.

The absence of central statistics on areas to be planted by certain species should not be used as an excuse for failing to purposively design a contract reforestation scheme that will increase fuelwood species.

Among the important factors in the MPDF are the provision of resource access, tenurial instruments and mangrove stewardship contracts.

The provision of resource access is very important since no one will never think of doing long-term rehabilitation work unless they can see its economic significance and unless they are assured that they will get some return on their investment.

There always seems to be a lack of confidence about the data generated by government agencies. This is caused by conflicting data from different agencies as shown in the various presentations. This may be due to the lack of funds for research. This could be addressed by multi-sectoral or inter-agency undertakings to conduct joint research.

A wealth of data have been generated for policy makers. But there seems to be a need to identify data that will be needed for program implementors.

The disaggregation of data on fuelwood supply and demand is very much supported by panel members as it will provide more realistic bases for formulating responsive investment strategies.

The statement that non-forest areas are more prone to over-exploitation is in contrast with the experience in Central Visayas. In this area the lands which are not cultivated or which are bare belong to the government. The lands which are well-utilized have either been released by the government or are under stewardship contracts. To a certain extent people here know how to exploit resources sustainably.

In terms of policy options, it is worth considering the reorientation of the government work force into a catalyst or community-organizing force.

The issuance of appropriate resource access instruments to people's organizations or private entrepreneurs needs to be premised on good resource management practices.

In watershed areas, people have negative perceptions of the government, particularly government foresters. This situation is due to the fact that the foresters mistrust the local people thinking they do not know how to manage the forest resources. To ensure the success of projects the government is enjoined to show that they trust these people by giving technical assistance, training and by other policy incentives.

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