“We shall strengthen our partnerships and provision of technical assistance to local government units in the preparation of their respective Forest Land Use Plans (FLUP),” declares Regional Executive Director Tirso P. Parian, Jr., of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources in Region VIII.

RED Parian made this statement in recognition of the vital role of LGUs in protecting, conserving and rehabilitating the region’s forests and its natural resources. According to him, it is important that the DENR provide them the necessary technical assistance in order to come up with an effective, practical, doable and holistic FLUP.

The FLUP serves as blueprint for the LGU, DENR, other related agencies and finance stakeholders on how to organize, mobilize and utilize resources at their disposal to attain the objectives in Forest and Forest Land Management. It is a management tool for establishing accountabilities and promoting responsible forest resource management, by ensuring that production activities are in balance with forest protection and biodiversity conservation, using the ridge-to-reef framework. The FLUP also serves as basis for monitoring, assessment and reporting which will give the LGU and DENR a clear perspective and guidance on their management performance throughout the implementation process.

“This year, we intend to assist nineteen (19) LGUs in the region in crafting their respective FLUPs,” RED Parian reveals.

Since the program was implemented in 2012, the DENR has already assisted 94 LGUs which comprises 70% of the LGUs in the region. Of this, 40 FLUPs have already been drafted and 54 already approved and adopted by the LGUs concerned. They are now in various stages of implementation. Last year alone, a total of 11 FLUPs were drafted and 11 FLUPs adopted by the LGU.

What the figures do not show is the process in crafting the FLUP which entails a series of workshops, on-site visits and consultation between all the stakeholders. In effect, the FLUP is not something imposed on the LGU but one that they themselves articulated and agreed upon. There is a sense of collective ownership and collective responsibility to implement it because it is a product of their own effort,” shares Forester Allen S. Cebuano, FLUP Regional Coordinator and Chief of the Enforcement Division.

Forest Land Use Planning (FLUP) is a participatory process of allocating forests and forestlands as natural resource asset by the government under appropriate management and tenure arrangement. It aims to eventually put these assets according to their best uses to attain a balance of production activities with forest protection and biodiversity conservation. Under Executive Order No. 318 (Promoting Sustainable Forest Management in the Philippines), LGUs are mandated to incorporate FLUPs into their comprehensive land use plans (CLUP).