On 31 January 2018, the Social Forestry Division of the Makiling Center for Mountain Ecosystems (SFD-MCME) conducted Ugnayang Pamayanan para sa Maunlad na Bundok Makiling held at Barangay Timugan, Los Baños, Laguna. Ugnayang Pamayanan is a people-oriented forestry program of SFD advocating public awareness on policies, rules, and regulations relevant to Mount Makiling Forest Reserve ASEAN Heritage Park (MMFR AHP). The activity was participated by the Local Government Unit (LGU) staff and farmers surrounding the Forest Reserve. As a continuing information, education and communication (IEC) strategy towards MMFR AHP protection and conservation, fora, dialogues, and meetings with the barangay officials and farmers are conducted through Ugnayan sessions.
A total of 20 participants comprised of barangay officials and farmers attended the Ugnayan in Brgy. Timugan. Staff of the Social Forestry Division presented short lectures and films on the importance of Mount Makiling as well as the importance of its protection and conservation. Several issues and concerns were brought up during the open forum. This includes issues on occupancy, manning of monitoring station, waste disposal, location of fruit stands, and traffic problems. To address the above mentioned issues, Barangay Chairman Francisco Dumangas, proposed to improve the barangay ordinances. Meanwhile, Director Roberto G. Visco talked about rehabilitation of the monitoring station located in Sitio Magnetic Hill. Proper coordination between the LGU and UPLB was seen as an important need to smoothly implement protection and conservation of MMFR AHP. Further, community mapping to be jointly conducted by SFD staff and local farmers is planned to update the status of occupants and farming systems in the area.
Ugnayan also served as a venue to introduce to the community Dr. Roberto G. Visco, the new Director of MCME. MCME staff present during the activity were For. Nicasio M. Balahadia, Head of the SFD, Mr. Benjamin D. Arizala, For. Rolly V. Breva, For. Emer C. Gestiada, For. Leonardo D. Barua, and For. Myranel S. Canceran.
Photos Credit to: MSCanceran