Community Based Forest Management Agreement for Southern Quezon Upland Farmers

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Catanauan-Community Environment and Natural Resources Officer Lupo Telan stresses that the DENR is in no way responsible of the death of a resident and a barangay chairman allegedly due to land disputes with a ‘big landlord.’ He likewise denies DENR has been remiss of its task in protecting the environment and natural resources in the Bondoc Peninsula. He said his office had conducted a series of consultations with the resident-farmers and discussed the possibility of engaging the farmers’ organization in the Community Based Forest Management (CBFM) Program since the timberland cannot be reclassified as agricultural land and cannot be distributed to them individually as farmlands. Telan also revealed that the land some farmers want to be distributed is covered with a valid tenurial instrument and that even until that the term of the tenurial instrument has expired does not necessarily mean the same land will be distributed to the farmers but will remain timberland as the adjoining areas. Listening intently are Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo (3rd from right at the head table) of the National Secretariat for Social Action-Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, who the farmers’ group requested to mediate and who helped organize the dialogue between the DENR and the Bondoc Peninsula farmers and its NGO support group; DENR Assistant Director Marcial Amaro (2nd from right) who led the DENR group including DENR Region 4A CALABARZON Regional Executive Director Reynulfo Juan (right); and the members of the farmers’ group. The Bishop was amenable to the participation of the farmers’ group to shape up their organization and firm up decisions to enter into a 25-years agreement with the environment agency under the CBFM. Amaro gave instructions to the regional office to speed up the process and facilitate perfecting the agreement, engage the farmers to a more fruitful collaboration in helping protect the environment and develop and nurture the forests, the lands and natural resources.