DENR, BFP sign Forest Fire Response Protocol
Legazpi City—An emerging tool in forest conservation is in the offing as the Department of Environment and Natural Resources Bicol and Bureau of Fire Protection Regional Office signed the Forest Fire Response Protocol last July 11, 2014.
DENR Bicol Regional Director Gilbert Gonzales said the protocol aims to strengthen an earlier memorandum of agreement between DENR and Department of Interior and Local Government through the BFP in 2002, signed by then Environment Sec. Heherson Alvarez and then Interior and Local Government Sec. Jose Lina as regards forest fire prevention and management.
“It is high time to take a pro-active stance in forest fire prevention for the reason that we are venturing into the most important investment the government has undertaken, which is the National Greening Program (NGP), we don’t want to lose 30 billion pesos worth of funds to ashes by doing away with preventive measures such as forest fire response” Dir. Gonzales emphasized.
Under the MOA, the DENR will provide the BFP with thematic maps and profile of timberlands and protected areas in Bicol which include trail and access roads, location of water source and ranger stations.
According to RD Gonzales, the two agencies has already come up with an action plan in the implementation of the protocol, which will focus on organization, capability build-up, and awareness campaign.
Alongside this, the partnership will be organizing a Regional Forest Fire First Respondent Team composed of the DENR’s Leatherbacks, BFP personnel and volunteer groups who will conduct round-the-clock monitoring and initiate response to forest fire incidents in their respective area. The same group will also be undergoing intensive training on forest fire prevention and management.
Gonzales is optimistic that the protocol will be serving as an impetus for other regional offices to establish similar partnerships to enable a sustained and pro-active forest conservation and management protocol.
Press Release: July 11, 2014