The City of Borongan once again showed its commitment to environmental protection by conducting its first-ever Forest Summit, which called for the conservation of the Samar Island Natural Park (SINP), which covers most of the city’s forestland. It also highlighted the important role of forests and the need to protect them for the preservation of biodiversity and the survival of communities.

Borongan City Mayor Dayan Agda underscored the importance of protecting the environment, citing that since Typhoon Yolanda, the city has not directly experienced strong typhoons because of the forests. He also added that the city government is stern in its commitment to preserving over sixty percent of its forestlands.

Meanwhile, DENR 8 Assistant Regional Director for Technical Services Atty. Dario O. Suarez expressed the Department’s appreciation to the local government unit for initiating such activity that popularizes the importance of forests and the environment and deems it worthy of emulation. “This is a noteworthy event, especially that it calls upon civil society organizations, local officials, the private sector, and government offices to be partners in protecting, conserving, and rehabilitating not just the forests in Borongan but the environment in general.”

ARD Suarez also laid out the state of the Philippine forests as well as their conditions in the region and in the city of Borongan and stressed the need for collective efforts and collaboration in efforts for environmental protection and conservation.

The summit also included presentations and discussions on Policy on Forest Management and Conservation delivered by PENRO Angelito Villanueva and Forest Economics and Social Justice by Forester Florente Sabejon, Assistant Professor at the Department of Forestry, Biliran Province State University.

Participants also signed a manifesto of support for the stewardship and sustainable governance of the Forets ecosystem. The manifesto of support covers an agreement to forge collaborative partnerships and empower local communities with a strategic action plan that includes knowledge exchange, collaborations, community engagement, and innovative solutions.

The summit gathered national government agencies, civil society organizations, the multi-sectoral forest protection committee, officials of the city’s constituent barangays that are composed of forestlands, city government officials, and students of the Eastern Samar State University.