I feel so delighted today being with the community based forest management program family, where I belong in my first 2 decades of my career in the department. We were the pioneers in this program, coming from the integrated social forest program which was one of the forerunner programs of the CBFM. Just for a short review of the CBFM, when it was established in 1995 by virtue of executive order no 263 which declared CBFM as the natural strategy for sustainable development. The CBFM adopts the principle “peoples first and sustainable forestry will follow”

27 years after its establishment, we are here today to witness the gains of the program. This two-day event with the theme “ Sustaining the gains of Community Based Forest Management towards equitable, democratic, and scientific environmental stewardship will provide us the opportunity to share our experiences, lessons learned, and above all to exchange good practices and other gains that we have generated in our 27 years journey under this program.

The CBFM journey, however, I understand is not a walk in the park. There are several challenges that we have encountered but these challenges made us what we are today. I can still recall my days with CBFM in the 1990’s up to early 2000 when we have to walk kilometers of steep and long and winding trails just to reach a CBFM area. Unlike today when most of our CBFM areas can be reached by vehicles already.

In the recent years, however, especially with climate change the challenges in CBFM program implementation have evolved.  We need to adapt to the new climate situation. We have to revisit the crops that we plant even our planting calendar. Di po ba noon pag buwan na nag hulyo hanggang october madalas na ang pag ulan subalit ngayon madalang na ang pag ulan at kung may ulan naman napaka lakas na minsan makakaranas tayo ng pagbaha. Kaya po pag aralan natin ngayon ang mga pananim, crops that will withstand long drought. Ipasok na po nating ang science ng crop production. At dito ko inaasahan ang ating mga forest technicians, ang forest extension officers na mag bigay ng technical assistance at to guide our pos on area development. Let us already consider climate change in updating our CRMF or in preparing our 5 year development.

One of the CBFM objectives is to increase the income of the upland communities. We can only realize this if we implement livelihood activities. But let us carefully choose the livelihoood that we will establish and as much as possible these income generating activities must also support the enhancement of our natural resources. For example, if you engage in handicraft making, you must also ensure that you develop and/or expand your sources such as rattan or bamboo plantations. I am not against the establishment of sari-sari stores as livelihood activity, which is the most common livelihood establish even with our forest land management program now. But let us promote ENR based livelihoods. Because these types of livelihoods will also promote the development of our natural resources.

Again, my thanks to the conservation and development division led by the division chief, forester Eric Pasion for spearheading this summit cum trade fair. True to  his name masyado ngang passionate sa kanyang trabaho and with him as the prime mover hindi malayong maging successful ang ating activity. Let me also thank our facilitator Ms.Janet Martires who also like me was a CBFM person. We were already working with and for the cbfm since our waistline was only 26 now its 26 ½ walang kokontra.

We also would like to thank Cagayan state university under the leadership of president my classmate president, Dr.Urdujah Alvarado for allowing us to use this gym as our venue. To all the peoples organizations maraming salamat sa inyo. You even exerted efforts in bringing your products to Tuguegarao. And I hope you can also generate sales from these products. Mga taga DENR bawal ang lista dapat daw cash lang. I am likewise grateful to all the CBFM coordinators of the PENROS and CENROS for your support and cooperation that made this summit a success.

A pleasant good morning to all of us and mabuhay!