Opening Remarks of

RD Leonardo R. Sibbaluca, CESO III

National REDD+ Congress: A Platform for Learning Experience

Kuting Reef Resort and Hotel, Macrohon, So. Leyte

September 12-15, 2016


Secretary Regina Paz Lopez, Dr. Bernd-Markus Liss, other resource persons, distinguished delegates, ladies and gentleman, welcome.


It is with pride and great pleasure that I extend to all of you a very warm welcome here in Eastern Visayas, specifically, here in Macrohon, So. Leyte on behalf of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). We are grateful to GIZ for spearheading this activity, the “National REDD+ Congress: A Platform for Learning Exchange”. We are equally grateful for the support extended by the Eastern Samar State University (ESSU) and the Forest Management Bureau (FMB) for the realization of this momentous gathering.


To all partners of GIZ on its project implementation, that includes the DENR, FMB, Biodiversity Management Bureau, Climate Change Commission, National Commission on Indigenous Peoples, CoDE REDD, local government units and other stakeholders, I welcome you all. Your contributions to this laudable undertaking is being recognized.


After years of collaboration with GIZ here in Eastern Visayas and in other parts of the country, this congress is a timely event to look back and analyze how we are managing in our thrust to arrest the negative trends of forest degradation. It is worth noting that our Government as early as 2010 has adopted the Philippine National REDD-Plus Strategy (PNRPS) as part of the National Framework Strategy on Climate Change. Since then, various programs and activities were conducted with GIZ and other stakeholders with the end-goal of rehabilitating our denuded forest while at the same time provide social and economic benefits to the communities, particularly forest upland communities.


I am excited to be a part of this activity because the program includes not only in-puts from highly competent resource persons, but there will be sharing of experiences from delegates from other parts of the country with regard the implementation of REDD+ projects. From here, lessons will be learned that will surely be a tool for more effective implementation of the different projects. Also, delegates will have the chance for a learning site visit to further concretize the sharing of experiences and lessons learned.


Generally, the sharing of innovations and best practices of REDD+ practitioners from all over country and the on-site visits will become a rich source of information for us to come up with an improved, more efficient and more effective strategies in replicating success stories on REDD+ implementation. We hope to come up with policy recommendations and strategies that will strengthen and augment the effort of the Government, especially in the attainment of its commitment to contribute in the mitigation of global warming. In our case, the focus is on forest protection and reforestation.


While much has been done already in our effort to mitigate the effect of climate change, much is yet to be done. We are aware that tremendous effort has already been exerted as well as investments infused on many REDD+ projects, but complacency at this environmentally-testing time is not part of our vocabulary. We must continue to coalesce with same-minded groups and action-oriented effort further increased if we are to win the fight against forest denudation and of enhancing forest carbon stocks. After all, any benefit we accrue here in our locality will not only redound to our immediate surrounding but will have an impact on the global effort. Not only for our lifetime but that of the lives of the generations to come.


That is why, I am so honoured to see so many of you here who are eager to take an active role for our greener environment advocacy. Some of you I may have met only today, but in my heart I know that we have been together in our quest for a healthy environment.    I am confident that by the end of this 4-day congress, we are more empowered and motivated to make this endeavour under REDD+ a huge success.


As we proceed with our activity with the theme “National REDD+ Congress: A Platform for Learning Exchange”, prepare yourself for a very fruitful learning experience that will really challenge, excite and even inspire you.


Before my counterpart from the GIZ Dr. Bernd-Marcus Liss also gives his opening remarks, I want to say once more on behalf of DENR-R8, welcome. Always a pleasure to have you here and may your brief stay here be a memorable and meaningful one. Good day!