BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
Rep. Francisco “Kiko” Benitez organized and hosted a blended meeting on December 7 bringing together government and non-government stakeholders for an information and research exchange on what more innovation can be pursued to maximize, preserve and conserve natural resources that abound in Negros forests, especially in the Third District.
The convergence among key representatives from the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) in Region 6 and Negros Occ.; Forest Products Research and Development Institute (FPRDI); Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Provincial Environment Management Office; Carlos Hilado Memorial State College (CHMSC), Slow Food Movement, and USAID Fish Right Program, covered in a two-hour brainstorming and exploratory discussion opportunities for collaborative research and initiatives for sustainable development of forest and marine resources, a press statement from his office said.
FPRDI experts Dr. Jennifer Tamayo and Dr. Rowena Ramos shared various technologies on utilization of forest-based products and the recent technology demonstration on bamboo for wellness conducted for Third District farmers in pilot barangays in Murcia and EB Magalona.
DOST Assistant Regional Director for Technical Operations Dr. Emelyn Flores, with provincial head Allan Francis Daraug and DENR OIC PENRO Edgardo Rostata shared the various programs of their respective agencies that may be tapped.
Dr. Rhoderick Samonte of the CHMSC shared the plan to start a Center for Innovation in Forestry and the willingness of the state college to be part of the convergence effort to conserve the province’s natural resources.
Slow Food Movement leaders in the province Reena Gamboa and Ramon “ChinChin” Uy echoed the need for more research on the other vital utilization of sugarcane and indigenous products like “batwan,” among others. Both stressed the need for assistance in coming up with a “catalogue of edibles found in Negros forests.”
FishRight Program representative Dr. Ari Barcelona highlighted efforts to assist fisherfolks by helping them improve fisheries management as well as build resilience of coastal communities in the province.
“The challenge is what we can do together” Benitez stressed, as he urged everyone to join the effort toward sustainable science for smart Asenso not only in Metro 3rd, but in Negros Island.*