Preparation for Sierra Madre Summit underway


To strengthen partnership with Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in protecting the Sierra Madre, the Save Sierra Madre Network Alliance (SSMNA) and the three regions of DENR will spearhead the Sierra Madre Summit.

Proposed to be conducted on May 24-28, this year in Antipolo City, the Summit will be participated in by at least 150 Indigenous Peoples (IPs), People’s Organizations (POs), representatives from the religious sector, academe, non-governmental organization and other CSOs from Regions 2, 3 and 4.

In a meeting with the DENR Region 2 officials held on March 27, this year, Fr. Pete Montallana, chairman and president of the SSMNA, said: “We have to instill in the consciousness and mindsets of the IPs that they are the custodians of the Sierra Madre. We have to encourage them to be the ‘eyes and ears’ of the Sierra Madre.”

According to Fr. Montallana, the Summit also aims to come up with clear and synchronized actions of the DENR and its partners in forest protection. This will also serve as an avenue to improve the implementation of the National Greening Program in the area.

Fr. Montallana is the DENR’s CSO focal person in the implementation of the Sustainable Integrated Area Development project in Divilacan, Isabela, the pilot site in Region 2 located within the Northern Sierra Madre Natural Park.sierra

During the meeting, Perla A. Vissoro, chairperson of the Regional Multi-sectoral Forest Protection Committee (RMFPC), suggested that model local government units and POs will be selected to share their experiences and best practices on environmental protection and conservation.

The RMFPC chairperson also requested that the participants from the CSOs will be given an opportunity to interact with the DENR through an open forum.

Atty. Gil A. Aromin, Regional Director of DENR Region 2, lauded the initiative of the Save Sierra Madre Network Alliance as he assured Fr. Montallana to relay his proposal with Undersecretary for Field Operations Philip G. Camara during the Regional Directors’ Meeting.

“Thank you for collaborating with us...for working with the DENR to save the Sierra Madre,” RD Aromin said in his closing message.# CCC