This activity was conducted to determine gains and plot courses of actions with which the objective of having the SFM Bill passed will be achieved. This activity was conducted only on November 22, 2019 due to the successive meetings being called by Bill sponsors, Committee on Natural Resources, and other prospective sponsors of the SFM Bill. One of the concerns raised during the activity is the provision that a national standard be set mandating that at least 40% forest cover be maintained for ecological services. This should not be the case since the reference that is being cited “One Century of Forest Rehabilitation in the Philippines” mentions that this figure is not confined to protective but also productive purposes. This long-withstanding argument being raised by Haribon Foundation, Inc. has already caused several meetings and significant delays. With this Committee Secretary Terso has decided to have the provision decided by the Congressmen themselves during the next meeting of the House Committee on Natural Resources. A total of 25 participants from 12 organizations attended the activity.
As a result, HB 106 was utilized as the core Bill with supplemental provisions lifted from HBs 4891, 1474 and 3061 such as the incentives, SFM strategies, and fund appropriation (both at national and local levels). The SFFI, upon the request of the HOR-CNR, submitted the consolidated SFM Bill on November 25, 2019. The HOR-CNR informed that updates will be provided to the SFFI as soon as available but cautioned that this may take time since it will have to pass through the HOR-Committee on Appropriations given the funding support required in the Bill.