Quick Passage of Law on Forest Management Pushed in House

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MANILA, Philippines - The House Committee on Natural Resources and the Special Committee on Reforestation are moving to consolidate the 13 pending bills on sustainable forest management and forest ecosystems in a bid to strengthen the country's capabilities to mitigate the effects of climate change. Surigao del Norte Rep. Francisco T. Matugas, chairman of the Committee on Natural Resources, pressed for theimmediate passage of a forest management law to help protect and preserve the country's ecosystem, saying that such legislation has long been overdue since the 8th Congress.He has directed the House Secretariat to form a technical working group to work on the consolidated version of the 13 bills, which include House Bill 3602 of Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and her son, Camarines Sur Rep. Diosdado "Dato" M. Arroyo."As committee chair, I am fully committed to the eventual passage of a comprehensive sustainable forest management and forest ecosystems law to protect, manage and enhance our country's precious ecosystem," the Surigao solon said in a statement.Matugas expressed optimism that the bill will be passed into law next year, which is timely as the world commemoratesthe International Year of the Forest.The two committees held a joint hearing to tackle the bills for climate change adoption and mitigation. Matugas, along with Zamboanga del Sur Rep. Victor J. Yu, chairman of the Committee on Reforestation, led the deliberations on the 13 bills "which will establish sustainable forest management schemes aimed at providing comprehensive strategies and programs for the protection of the country's ecosystem. …