The UPLB College of Forestry and Natural Resources (CFNR)

CFNR alumni homecoming features technical forum, awarding of outstanding alumni, and DENR Secretary’s visit

Back-to-back with the celebration of its 114th Founding Anniversary, the UPLB College of Forestry and Natural Resources (CFNR) celebrated its alumni homecoming on April 18-19, 2024. Environment Secretary Maria Antonia Yulo-Loyzaga graced the awarding ceremony of outstanding alumni. 

Themed “From Roots to Canopy: Honoring our Legacy, Cultivating Our Future – Commemorating 114 Years of Forestry Excellence at CFNR,” the celebration also included Foresters’ Day.  Featured in the event were a sportsfest, commemorative programs at the CFNR marker and cenotaph, recognition of jubilarians and outstanding alumni, a technical forum, a business meeting, and a fellowship and concert to foster alumni camaraderie.

For. Tommy T. Valdez, president of the CFNR Alumni Association (CFNRAA), welcomed the alumni, guests, jubilarians, faculty, staff, and students in his message at the official opening program on April 19, 2024. 

Strong sense of community and legacy of excellence

Valdez’s message, which was read by Marlo D. Mendoza, dean of CFNR, lauded the strong sense of community of CFNR in serving as duty-bearers for sustainable forest management. He also noted the mounting challenges in the forestry sector, which makes it critical to clearly demonstrate the role of foresters in maintaining natural heritage and safeguarding the future.

In his introductory remarks, Chancellor Jose V. Camacho, Jr. recognized CFNR for its century-long legacy of excellence in forestry research, management, and policy recommendations in the Philippines and the ASEAN region.

With the world’s forests under threat due to anthropogenic activities and climate change, he directed CFNR to take the lead in revitalizing the country’s forest sector by capitalizing on its strategic advantage—the proximity of the living laboratory in the Mount Makiling Forest Reserve, its long-standing tradition of academic excellence, and strong and responsive networks of expert alumni.

Alumni awards

Environment Secretary Yulo-Loyzaga led the ribbon-cutting ceremony to inaugurate the alumni exhibit. Yulo also presented the state of the Philippine forests, emphasizing both the ongoing challenges of deforestation and the exciting new frontier for the forestry sector. 

She discussed numerous prospects for forest investments, particularly through the carbon market, nature-based solutions, and sustainable forest practices that allow harvesting while maintaining forest health.

The homecoming’s opening program featured the recognition of the jubilarians and the awarding of outstanding alumni. The recipients of the various awards are For. Eriberto B. Sañosa for the 2024 CFNR Distinguished Alumni Award for Institutional Service (public sector); For. Edwin V. Payuan, the Distinguished Alumni Award for Special Achievements, and Dr. Wang Weibin, the Distinguished Alumni Award for Forestry Education.

A Thousand Forests

Another activity was the showing of a preview of the upcoming full-length musical film, A Thousand Forests, which CFNR co-produced with i.Syoot Multimedia Production. 

The musical is a story of five Filipino teens chosen to participate in a Forest Camp and how they develop a deep understanding of how trees can save the planet. 

The film is an advocacy component of A Thousand Forests Program that encourages the different sectors to take part in the complete cycle of greening activities for the benefit of society.

Technical Forum

An important feature of the alumni homecoming was the technical forum, which served as a venue for discussion on the state of the country’s forests. Co-organized by the CFNRAA, Forestry Development Center (FDC), and the Training Center for Tropical Resources and Ecosystems Sustainability, the forum brought together representatives from the wood industry, the private sector, and academe to deliver talks relevant to the theme “Aligning Figures and Future: Rethinking Strategies to Revitalize the Philippines’ Forestry Sector”.

Antonio C. Antonio, managing director of the Integrated Forest Management (IFM) Association Philippines, spoke about the significant contribution of IFM agreement holders to the Philippine wood industry, as well as the issues they confront and their desire for improved support. 

Jonathan F. Joson, chief operating officer of Kennemer EcoSolutions, presented the company’s efforts to join the voluntary carbon market with Mindanao’s smallholder agroforestry farmers. Dr. Rex Victor O. Cruz, UPLB professor emeritus and academician of the National Academy of Science and Technology, discussed the tradeoffs between forests, agriculture, and urban growth and their implications for forestry education and research.

Further shedding light on the issues raised by the speakers, Carlos Primo C. David, DENR undersecretary for integrated environmental science and Atty. Ray Thomas F. Kabigting, chief of the Forest Investment Development Division-Forest Management Bureau, shared investment opportunities at the DENR and strategies for unlocking policies to properly value forest resources and services.

Dr. Dixon T. Gevaña, FDC director, concluded the technical forum by outlining key points and challenges and identifying CFNR’s next steps. (Maricel T. Villamayor)


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