On 22 April 2015, the first meeting of officers of the Mount Makiling Forest Reserve Stakeholders Advisory Council (MMFR SAC) was held at the Executive Conference Room (ECR) of the Office of the Chancellor. A total of 22 stakeholders attended the meeting. Dr. Serlie B. Jamias, UPLB Vice Chancellor for Community Affairs, welcomed the guests and presided over the meeting in behalf of Chancellor Fernando C. Sanchez, Jr. Dr. Nathaniel C. Bantayan, Director of the Makiling Center for Mountain Ecosystems (MCME) and Park Manager of the MMFR ASEAN Heritage Park, served as the Chair of the Secretariat of the Council.
Representatives from the different Local Government Units (LGUs) of Los Baños (Dr. Antonio J. Alcantara-Head, MENRO), Bay (Mr. E.M. Domingo, Jr. – Secretary, Sangguniang Bayan), and Calamba City (Ms. Loida S. Humarang-Head, CENRO) gave short messages, together with Atty. Roberto Oliva, Executive Director of ASEAN Center for Biodiversity & Secretariat of the AHP Program. Also in attendance were the committee chairs and a representative, namely: Prof. Marlo Mendoza (UPLB-CFNR)–Chair, Resource Generation; Engr. Pantaleon Tabanao (LWD)–Chair, Water Resource and Sustainable Use; Dr. Juan Carlos Gonzalez (MNH)–Chair, Biodiversity Protection and Law Enforcement; Mr. Marvin Malacaman (Rep. of DOT) and Ms. Gina Austria (Head, LTCATO)–Chair & Asst. Chair, Ecotourism.
The members of the council participated actively during the discussion. They provided insights and thoughts on different issues and concerns in MMFR that made the meeting very productive. The council identified two major programs/projects that need to be prioritized, viz.: (1) water resources and (2) ecotourism. Moreover, the council agreed to pass a resolution convening the LGUs, water districts and UPLB Legal Office to come up with a study on water sustainability. Dr. Willie P. Abasolo, Dean of the College of Forestry and Natural Resources, in his closing remarks, called for continued collaboration and cooperation among the stakeholders.
by Mae Belen C. Llanza