Ladies and gentlemen, isang mapagpalang araw po sa inyong lahat!

On behalf of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), I congratulate the Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Forest Management Bureau (DENR-FMB) for holding this Investment Forum called “FYI: Forest, Your Investment.” We are pleased to join you in this forum dedicated to attracting forestry investments in the Philippines, as well as highlighting the importance of our forestry sector’s development.

In 2019, forestland made up 15.8M hectares or 52.7% of the country’s total land area of 30M hectares. However, despite its many potentials, our forestry sector remains challenged in its contribution to the Philippine economy. That’s why in the Updated Philippine Development Plan (PDP) 2017 to 2022, the national government strives to expand economic opportunities in the agriculture, forestry, and fisheries (AFF) sector. The development plan also recognizes the vital role of the AFF sector in ensuring food security in our transition to a “Better Normal” after this pandemic.

Furthermore, our main goal in this forum is supported by the Forestry Investment Roadmap (FIRM) 2018-2028, which serves as the country’s blueprint to encourage private sector investments in the forestry sector. The roadmap is aimed at revitalizing local and foreign direct investments (FDI) in forestry in an economically viable and socially responsible manner towards sustainable development.

DTI supports DENR in its initiatives to strengthen our country’s forestry sector. The Department’s Inclusive Innovation Industrial Strategy (i3s) aims to grow innovative and globally competitive manufacturing, agriculture, and services. This will ensure that the forestry sector will make the most significant contribution to the Philippine economy through product, process, and partnership innovation. The sector offers limitless business opportunities for its various forestry products, ranging from paper, personal care, packaging materials, chemicals, furniture, textiles to raw material inputs for the manufacturing industry to ecotourism services, thus, generating more opportunities for employment and entrepreneurship.

Meanwhile, the Industry Cluster Enhancement (ICE) Program of DTI-Regional Operations Group (ROG) helps micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to become globally competitive. The program also seeks to resolve one of the gaps in the value chain, which is by linking micro and small enterprises to medium and large enterprises to contribute to the production and manufacturing of end-products for global market consumption.

Additionally, through DTI-Board of Investments (BOI)’s Industry Roadmapping Project, we partnered with relevant industry associations and government agencies in implementing programs that support the development and growth of industries. Some of the roadmaps with important linkages to the forestry sector are bamboo, rubber products, mass housing/construction, pulp and paper, furniture, and printing industries, among others.

Likewise, we in DTI-BOI recognize that encouraging the private sector to engage in industrial tree plantations (ITP) can be the critical solution to the development of forest products, industries, and value chain. This activity is registrable under the Special Laws of the 2020 Investment Priorities Plan (IPP), and may be granted incentives under the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises (CREATE) Act.

The trend towards green, inclusive, and sustainable economic solutions provide huge opportunities for investments and private sector development in the forestry sector. Hence, I would like to congratulate DENR-FMB again for organizing this forum that can be an avenue to hasten our country’s progress.

By working hand-in-hand in a whole-of-society approach, we can achieve not just a thriving economy in the New Normal but also a greener and better society. And together, we can bring our people to a safer and more comfortable post-pandemic future, as promised by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte.

Maraming salamat po, at mabuhay tayong lahat!

Date of Release: 11 November 2021