This study is entitled The Life of North Negros Forest Reserve Inhabitants: Impact of Integrated Social Forestry Program. On July 28, 1982, President Ferdinand E. Marcos signed the Letter of Instruction No. 1260 launching a national program called Integrated Social Forestry Program (ISFP) to be implemented by several ministries including the Ministry of Natural Resources (now DENR) to maximize land productivity, enhance ecological stability, and improve socio-economic conditions of forest occupants and communities. Certificate of Stewardship Contracts (CSC) are awarded to individuals or families occupying or tilling portions of forest lands for a period of 25 years. The problem arises when the beneficiaries from North Negros Forest Reserve in Victorias City, Negros Occidental refuse to surrender their occupancy despite the expiration of their CSCs. This study aims to find out what legal actions will DENR initiate to resolve the issue regarding this matter. Therefore, Narrative Inquiry, a qualitative method of research, will be utilized among recipients and key informants from DENR. Furthermore, The Told and The Telling will be employed in analyzing the data. The significant findings of this research may help offer solutions to the identified problem and give recommendations for the improvement of the implementation of ISFP.


Under the Letter of Instruction No. 1260, ordered by the former Philippine President Ferdinand E. Marcos on July 28, 1982, the Integrated Social Forestry (ISF) Program was implemented. This recognizes the concept of man’s new role of stewardship over our natural resources especially in forest areas for social and economic progress of the nation. Furthermore, this is the way of Government’s recognition among the less privileged sectors of society, that kaingineros and other occupants of forest lands or settlers are effective agents of the state in food production and in the rehabilitation of forest lands and at the same time strengthen the national livelihood movement for the marginalized.

The cooperation and assistance of various government agencies and instrumentalities were required in the implementation of this project. Thus President Marcos ordered the Ministry of Natural Resources together with the Ministry of Agrarian Reform, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Education and Culture, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Human Settlements, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Local Government, Ministry of Public Works and Highways, Ministry of Social Services and Development and the National Economic Development Authority, pursuant to Executive Order No. 715,  operated in different roles with a common goal as to provide for kaingineros and other occupants and communities dependent on areas classified as forest lands their livelihood.

“…In order to provide the stability of occupancy required in both management and forest livelihood development, and pursuant to the new policy on democratized disposition of suitable public forest lands, security of tenure shall be given to kaingineros and other deserving forest occupants in identified kaingin settlements through the granting of long term stewardship contracts on economic-sized family landholdings, the effective duration of such contracts and specific size of land farmholdings to be set as deemed appropriate by the Minister of Natural Resources, provided that, areas which are too steep for ecological and economically sound development shall not be subject to this Program; provided, further, that in accordance with the provisions of PD 705, as amended, the Minister of Natural Resources shall initially determine the best land use of identified target areas and if so necessary, cause the relocation of said deserving forest occupants to the nearest accessible government resettlement area.”

Victorias City is one of the selected areas for the Integrated Social Forestry Program. Victorias City is 34 kilometers away from Bacolod City, the capital city in Negros Occidental. It has a total land area of 13, 390 hectares of which 79% is Alienable and Disposable Lands equivalent to 10, 585 hectares while 21% is  Classified Forest equivalent to 2, 805 hectares. Its forest Land is also within the Northern Negros Natural Park as declared in Proclamation No. 985 dated August 15, 2005.

In the Letter of Instruction No. 1260, the implementation of ISF Program shall give priority to those kaingineros and other forest land occupants who have been occupying their lands before December 31, 1981. The Ministry of Natural Resources shall also give their priority to deserving landless farmers, tillers and rural workers who may want to apply for participation in the said program.

In Victorias City, a total of thirty nine (39) CS Holders or Certificate of Stewardship Contract (CSC) was awarded in 1984 with a total area of 175.27 hectares. The long term stewardship contracts as provided for in the Letter of Instruction was equivalent to 25 years. Such may either be cancelled shall there be any violations, or the same may be renewed and extended after prescription.


The Study on the impact of Integrated Social Forestry Program on the life of North Negros Forest Reserve inhabitants will help the following:

CSC Holders – on their plight to own and have legal rights on the parcels of land they have tilled and developed since time immemorial.

DENR – to be able to look further into all the records such as the monitoring and evaluation reports on the areas with ISF program, specifically in Victorias City and establish a movement together with the Local Government Unit that would benefit its people.

LGU – to reassess the opportunities provided for the people, in giving security and continuous support.


This study aims to recount and narrate the status, possibilities, and remedies available for the CSC Holders in Northern Negros Forestry Area specifically in So. Gawahon, Victorias City, now that their CSCs already expired in 1984.


Forestry Laws

The Philippine forest has the most environmental significant in the country being the centerpiece of its natural resource base and ecosystems. Forest lands are the main watersheds of rivers which provide water for irrigation, energy generation, industries, and households.

In order to preserve the country’s forestry areas, Presidential decree No. 705 revising presidential decree no. 389, otherwise known as the Forestry Reform Code Of The Philippines, was enacted for the proper classification, management and utilization of the lands of the public domain to maximize productivity and meet the demands of our increasing population as it is urgently needed. To achieve such purpose, it is necessary to reassess the multiple uses of forest lands and resources before allowing any utilization thereof to optimize the benefits that can be derived therefrom. It is also imperative to place emphasis not only on the utilization thereof but more so on the protection, rehabilitation and development of forest lands, in order to ensure the continuity of their productive condition. Furthermore, the present laws and regulations governing forest lands are not responsive enough to support re-oriented government programs, projects and efforts on the proper classification and delimitation of the lands of the public domain, and the management, utilization, protection, rehabilitation, and development of forest lands.

Therefore, the former Philippine President Ferdinand E. Marcos revised Presidential Decree No. 389 to be known as the “Revised Forestry Code of the Philippines.”

Under Section 2 of the said Presidential Decree, the state adopts the following policies: (a) The multiple uses of forest lands shall be oriented to the development and progress requirements of the country, the advancement of science and technology, and the public welfare; (b) Land classification and survey shall be systematized and hastened; (c) The establishment of wood-processing plants shall be encouraged and rationalized; and (d) The protection, development and rehabilitation of forest lands shall be emphasized so as to ensure their continuity in productive condition.

It is also stated in Chapter III, Sec. 20 that no person may utilize, exploit, occupy, possess or conduct any activity within any forest land, or establish and operate any wood-processing plant, unless he has been authorized to do so under a license agreement, lease, license, or permit.

This is all for the purpose of forest protection which is further reiterated in sections 37 and 38 to read as follows: All measures shall be taken to protect the forest resources from destruction, impairment and depletion. In order to achieve the effective protection of the forest lands and the resources thereof from illegal entry, unlawful occupation, kaingin, fire, insect infestation, theft, and other forms of forest destruction, the utilization of timber therein shall not be allowed except through license agreements under which the holders thereof shall have the exclusive privilege to cut all the allowable harvestable timber in their respective concessions, and the additional right of occupation, possession, and control over the same, to the exclusive of all others, except the government, but with the corresponding obligation to adopt all the protection and conservation measures to ensure the continuity of the productive condition of said areas, conformably with multiple use and sustained yield management.

If the holder of a license agreement over a forest area expressly or impliedly waives the privilege to utilize any softwood, hardwood or mangrove species therein, a license may be issued to another person for the harvest thereof without any right of possession or occupation over the areas where they are found, but he shall, likewise, adopt protection and conservation measures consistent with those adopted by the license agreement holder in the said areas.

In line with this, Sections 68-70 provides the criminal offenses and penalties available for any violators.

Section 68. Cutting, gathering and/or collecting timber or other products without license. Any person who shall cut, gather, collect, or remove timber or other forest products from any forest land, or timber from alienable and disposable public lands, or from private lands, without any authority under a license agreement, lease, license or permit, shall be guilty of qualified theft as defined and punished under Articles 309 and 310 of the Revised Penal Code; Provided, That in the case of partnership, association or corporation, the officers who ordered the cutting, gathering or collecting shall be liable, and if such officers are aliens, they shall, in addition to the penalty, be deported without further proceedings on the part of the Commission on Immigration and Deportation.

The Court shall further order the confiscation in favor of the government of the timber or forest products to cut, gathered, collected or removed, and the machinery, equipment, implements and tools used therein, and the forfeiture of his improvements in the area.

The same penalty plus cancellation of his license agreement, lease, license or permit and perpetual disqualification from acquiring any such privilege shall be imposed upon any licensee, lessee, or permittee who cuts timber from the licensed or leased area of another, without prejudice to whatever civil action the latter may bring against the offender.

Section 69. Unlawful occupation or destruction of forest lands. Any person who enters and occupies or possesses, or makes kaingin for his own private use or for others any forest land without authority under a license agreement, lease, license or permit, or in any manner destroys such forest land or part thereof, or causes any damage to the timber stand and other products and forest growths found therein, or who assists, aids or abets any other person to do so, or sets a fire, or negligently permits a fire to be set in any forest land shall, upon conviction, be fined in an amount of not less than five hundred pesos (P500.00) nor more than twenty thousand pesos (P20,000.00) and imprisoned for not less than six (6) months nor more than two (2) years for each such offense, and be liable to the payment of ten (10) times the rental fees and other charges which would have been accrued had the occupation and use of the land been authorized under a license agreement, lease, license or permit: Provided, That in the case of an offender found guilty of making kaingin, the penalty shall be imprisoned for not less than two (2) nor more than (4) years and a fine equal to eight (8) times the regular forest charges due on the forest products destroyed, without prejudice to the payment of the full cost of restoration of the occupied area as determined by the Bureau.

The Court shall further order the eviction of the offender from the land and the forfeiture to the Government of all improvements made and all vehicles, domestic animals and equipment of any kind used in the commission of the offense. If not suitable for use by the Bureau, said vehicles shall be sold at public auction, the proceeds of which shall accrue to the Development Fund of the Bureau.

In case the offender is a government official or employee, he shall, in addition to the above penalties, be deemed automatically dismissed from office and permanently disqualified from holding any elective or appointive position.

Section 70. Pasturing Livestock. Imprisonment for not less than six (6) months nor more than two (2) years and a fine equal to ten (10) times the regular rentals due, in addition to the confiscation of such livestock and all improvement introduced in the area in favor of the government, shall be imposed upon any person, who shall, without authority under a lease or permit, graze or cause to graze livestock in forest lands, grazing lands and alienable and disposable lands which have not as yet been disposed of in accordance with the Public Land Act; Provided, That in case the offender is a corporation, partnership or association, the officers and directors thereof shall be liable.

On top of that, the DENR or Department of Environment and Natural Resources also issued Administrative Order No. 2020-09 with the subject: Guidelines On The Management Of Cancelled Or Terminated, Expiring, And Expired Tenurial Instruments.

Section 7 of the said Administrative Order states the procedures for the Management of Areas Covered with Cancelled/Terminated, Expiring, and Expired Tenurial Instruments. They are as follows:

7.1 Expiring Tenurial Instruments. For at least one (1) year prior to the expiration, the office concerned shall inform the tenurial instrument holder of the expiration of the tenurial instrument. Consequently, the holder shall file their intention to terminate or renew their tenurial instrument with the DENR within the same period. 

The expiring tenurial instruments shall be categorized according to those that are for renewal and for non-renewal. For tenurial instruments that are for renewal, a performance evaluation shall be conducted by the office concerned at least six (6) months prior to expiration, which shall be used as basis of further action. On the other hand, a notice shall be issued to the tenurial instrument holder to vacate the area upon expiration. An inventory of all the improvements introduced or possible damages shall be conducted by the AMT three (3) months prior to expiration. In cases where no further renewal of the tenurial instrument is allowed in view of Constitutional limitations, only new applications and entities shall be considered. 

7.2 Cancelled or Terminated Tenurial Instruments. Upon determination of cause for 

cancellation or termination and application of due process, a notice shall be issued by the office concerned to the tenurial instrument holder to vacate the area within seven (7) days from the finality of the Order of Cancellation. An inventory of all the improvements introduced or possible damages, and the forfeiture procedures shall be conducted by the AMT. It shall also conduct comprehensive assessment to determine the best land use of the area. The AMT may consult stakeholders such as the LGUs, NGOs, other government offices, academe, private sector, and the like in the development of the area. In case of rehabilitation of SAPA areas, the Protected Area Management Board (PAMB) shall attest the satisfactory rehabilitation of the area according to the zones objectives of the management plan. In cases where the tenurial instrument holder has unsettled accounts, all assets equivalent to the amount due, including performance bond, if any, or plantations established shall be forfeited in favour of the Government. 

7.3 Expired Tenurial Instruments. Upon identification by the implementing 

unit/office of expired tenurial instruments, the AMT shall secure the area covered, prepare and implement a protection and management plan, and conduct a comprehensive assessment to determine the best land use thereof. Only the immovable/permanent properties will be subjected to take-over by the Government. The AMT may consult stakeholders such as the LGUs, NGOs, other government offices, academe, private sector, and the like in the development of the area. 

In case of rehabilitation of SAPA areas, the PAMB shall attest the satisfactory rehabilitation of the area according to the zones objectives of the management plan. For forestry tenured areas, the tenurial instrument holder shall be required to submit a plan for the utilization of planted trees and similar products reaching harvestable age, and no further activities other than harvesting shall be allowed. 

Anti-squatting Law

On August 20, 1975, Presidential Decree No. 772 with the subject Penalizing Squatting And Other Similar Acts was issued.

It states, despite the issuance of Letter of Instructions No. 19 dated October 2, 1972, directing the Secretaries of National Defense, Public Works and Communications, Social Welfare and the Director of Public Works, the PHHC General Manager, the Presidential Assistant on Housing and Rehabilitation Agency, Governors, City and Municipal Mayors, and City and District Engineers, “to remove all illegal constructions including buildings on and along esteros and river banks, those along railroad tracks and those built without permits on public and private property, “squatting is still a major problem in urban communities all over the country. Many persons or entities found to have been unlawfully occupying public and private lands belong to the affluent class and There is a need to further intensity the government’s drive against this illegal and nefarious practice.

Because of this, then President Ferdinand E. Marcos ordered: any person who, with the use of force, intimidation or threat, or taking advantage of the absence or tolerance of the landowner, succeeds in occupying or possessing the property of the latter against his will for residential commercial or any other purposes, shall be punished by an imprisonment ranging from six months to one year or a fine of not less than one thousand nor more than five thousand pesos at the discretion of the court, with subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency.

If the offender is a corporation or association, the maximum penalty of five years and the fine of five thousand pesos shall be imposed upon the president, director, manager or managing partners thereof.

However, on October 27, 1997, Republic Act No. 8368 was issued repealing PD 772 provided above. The act repealing presidential decree no. 772 was entitled “Penalizing Squatting And Other Similar Acts” or shall be known as the “Anti-Squatting Law Repeal Act of 1997.”

In effect, all pending cases under the provisions of Presidential Decree No. 772 shall be dismissed upon the effectivity of this Act. Nothing herein shall be construed to nullify, eliminate or diminish in any way Sec. 27 of Republic Act No. 7279 or any of its provisions relative to sanctions against professional squatters and squatting syndicates.

As a remedy available for homeless individuals within the states, Republic Act No. 7279 was enacted. Otherwise known as “Urban Development and Housing Act of 1992” an act to provide for a comprehensive and continuing urban development and housing program, establish the mechanism for its implementation, and for other purposes.

Under Section 2 of the said act, it shall be the policy of the State to undertake, in cooperation with the private sector, a comprehensive and continuing Urban Development and Housing Program, hereinafter referred to as the program, which shall: provide access to land and housing by the underprivileged and homeless citizens; adopt workable policies to regulate and direct urban growth and expansion towards a dispersed urban net and more balanced urban-rural interdependence; provide for an equitable land tenure system that shall guarantee security of tenure to Program beneficiaries but shall respect the rights of small property owners and ensure the payment of just compensation; encourage more effective people’s participation in the urban development process; and improve the capability of local government units in undertaking urban development and housing programs and projects. 

Meanwhile, Section 37 states that the local government units shall set up an effective mechanism, together with the appropriate agencies like the Population Commission, the National Economic and Development Authority and the National Statistics Office, to monitor trends in the movements of population from rural to urban, urban to urban, and urban to rural areas. They shall identify measures by which such movements can be influenced to achieve balance between urban capabilities and population, to direct appropriate segments of the population into areas where they can have access to opportunities to improve their lives and to contribute to national growth and recommend proposed legislation to Congress, if necessary.

Furthermore, Section  38 states that to minimize rural to urban migration and pursue urban decentralization, the local government units shall coordinate with the National Economic and Development Authority and other government agencies in the formulation of national development programs that will stimulate economic growth and promote socioeconomic development in the countryside.


In order for a country to progress, the domestic product be reasonable if not outstanding. Therefore, Agriculture should be of paramount importance and farmers are the backbone of the agricultural systems. Because of this, Republic Act No. 6657 was implemented.

Republic Act No. 6657 is An Act Instituting A Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program To Promote Social Justice And Industrialization, Providing The Mechanism For Its Implementation, And For Other Purposes.

Under the said act, it is the policy of the State to pursue a Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP). The welfare of the landless farmers and farmworkers will receive the highest consideration to promote social justice and to move the nation toward sound rural development and industrialization, and the establishment of owner cultivatorship of economic-size farms as the basis of Philippine agriculture.

To this end, a more equitable distribution and ownership of land, with due regard to the rights of landowners to just compensation and to the ecological needs of the nation, shall be undertaken to provide farmers and farmworkers with the opportunity to enhance their dignity and improve the quality of their lives through greater productivity of agricultural lands.

The agrarian reform program is founded on the right of farmers and regular farmworkers, who are landless, to own directly or collectively the lands they till or, in the case of other farm workers, to receive a just share of the fruits thereof. To this end, the State shall encourage and undertake the just distribution of all agricultural lands, subject to the priorities and retention limits set forth in this Act, having taken into account ecological, developmental, and equity considerations, and subject to the payment of just compensation. The State shall respect the right of small landowners, and shall provide incentives for voluntary land-sharing.

The State shall recognize the right of farmers, farmworkers and landowners, as well as cooperatives and other independent farmers’ organizations, to participate in the planning, organization, and management of the program, and shall provide support to agriculture through appropriate technology and research, and adequate financial production, marketing and other support services.

The State shall apply the principles of agrarian reform, or stewardship, whenever applicable, in accordance with law, in the disposition or utilization of other natural resources, including lands of the public domain, under lease or concession, suitable to agriculture, subject to prior rights, homestead rights of small settlers and the rights of indigenous communities to their ancestral lands.

The State may resettle landless farmers and farmworkers in its own agricultural estates, which shall be distributed to them in the manner provided by law.

By means of appropriate incentives, the State shall encourage the formation and maintenance of economic-size family farms to be constituted by individual beneficiaries and small landowners.

The State shall protect the rights of subsistence fishermen, especially of local communities, to the preferential use of communal marine and fishing resources, both inland and offshore. It shall provide support to such fishermen through appropriate technology and research, adequate financial, production and marketing assistance and other services. The State shall also protect, develop and conserve such resources. The protection shall extend to offshore fishing grounds of subsistence fishermen against foreign intrusion. Fishworkers shall receive a just share from their labor in the utilization of marine and fishing resources.

The State shall be guided by the principles that land has a social function and land ownership has a social responsibility. Owners of agricultural lands have the obligation to cultivate directly or through labor administration the lands they own and thereby make the land productive.

The State shall provide incentives to landowners to invest the proceeds of the agrarian reform program to promote industrialization, employment and privatization of public sector enterprises. Financial instruments used as payment for lands shall contain features that shall enhance negotiability and acceptability in the marketplace.

The State may lease undeveloped lands of the public domain to qualified entities for the development of capital intensive farms, and traditional and pioneering crops especially those for exports subject to the prior rights of the beneficiaries under this Act.

Additionally on December 11, 1997, Republic Act No. 8425  was issued with the title: An Act Institutionalizing The Social Reform And Poverty Alleviation Program, Creating For The Purpose The National Anti-Poverty Commission, Defining Its Powers And Functions, And For Other Purposes.

Under Section 4, the National Anti-Poverty Action Agenda shall principally include the core principles and programs of the Social Reform Agenda (SRA). The SRA shall have a multi-dimensional approach to poverty consisting of the following reforms: (1) Social dimension access to quality basic services. – These are reforms which refer to equitable control and access to social services and facilities such as education, health, housing, and other basic services which enable the citizens to meet their basic human needs and to live decent lives; (2) Economic dimension asset reform and access to economic opportunities. – Reforms which address the existing inequities in the ownership, distribution, management and control over natural and man-made resources from which they earn a living or increase the fruits of their labor; (3) Ecological dimension sustainable development of productive resources. – Reforms which ensure the effective and sustainable utilization of the natural and ecological resource base, thus assuring greater social acceptability and increased participation of the basic sectors in environmental and natural resources conservation, management and development and; (4) Governance dimension democratizing the decision-making and management processes. – Reforms which enable the basic sectors to effectively participate in decision-making and management processes that affect their rights, interests and welfare.

The farmers and landless rural workers for agricultural development is one of the sector-specific flagship programs that Social Reform Agenda or SRA shall focus on.

Lastly, Republic Act No. 3844 also known as An Act To Ordain The Agricultural Land Reform Code And To Institute Land Reforms In The Philippines, Including The Abolition Of Tenancy And The Channeling Of Capital Into Industry, Provide For The Necessary Implementing Agencies, Appropriate Funds Therefor And For Other Purposes took effect in order to (1) Establish owner-cultivatorship and the economic family-size farm as the basis of Philippine agriculture and, as a consequence, divert landlord capital in agriculture to industrial development; (2) Achieve a dignified existence for the small farmers free from pernicious institutional restraints and practices; (3) Create a truly viable social and economic structure in agriculture conducive to greater productivity and higher farm incomes; (4) Apply all labor laws equally and without discrimination to both industrial and agricultural wage earners; (5) Provide a more vigorous and systematic land resettlement program and public land distribution; and (6) Make the small farmers more independent, self-reliant and responsible citizens, and a source of genuine strength in our democratic society.


This section discusses the research design, the participants of the study, sampling procedure, the research instrument, the procedure to be employed for gathering the data, reliability of the data, validity of the gathered data, and how the data will be treated and analyzed.

Research Design

This study employed Narrative Inquiry, a qualitative method of research. The rationale for the approach used is to gather information from the respondents through storytelling which was later consolidated and thematized to form a narrative. Humans are storytelling organisms who, individually and collectively, lead storied lives. Thus, the study of narrative is the study of the ways humans experience the world. Connelly and Clandinin (1990)

Field notes, interviews, letters, and orally told stories are all methods of narrative inquiry. These were all used in conducting this research.

Furthermore, Narrative inquiry follows a recursive, reflexive process of moving from field (with starting points in telling or living of stories) to field texts (data) to interim and final research texts. Commonplaces of temporality, sociality and place create a conceptual framework within which different kinds of field texts and different analyses can be used. Narrative inquiry highlights ethical matters as well as shapes new theoretical understandings of people’s experiences.  Clandinin, D. J., & Huber, J. (in press). Narrative inquiry. In B. McGaw, E. Baker, & P. P. Peterson (Eds.), International encyclopedia of education (3rd ed.). New York, NY: Elsevier.

Participants of the Study

The respondents for this research are four Certificate of Stewardship Contract (CSC) holders, of the Integrated Social Forestry Program in So. Gawahon, Victorias City. One representative from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, and one representative from the Environmental Resources Office of the Local Government Unit of Victorias City.

Research Locale

Victorias City is 34 kilometers away from Bacolod City, the capital city in Negros Occidental. It has a total land area of 13, 390 hectares of which 79% is Alienable and Disposable Lands equivalent to 10, 585 hectares while 21% is  Classified Forest equivalent to 2, 805 hectares. Its forest Land is also within the Northern Negros Natural Park as declared in Proclamation No. 985 dated August 15, 2005. In this study, CSC holders in So. Gawahon, Victorias City were randomly chosen to be the participants of this research.

Sampling Design

One from every ten CSC holders were interviewed. Among the list of names acquired from the Environmental Resources Office, a random-sampling or fishbowl technique was employed in determining the respondents to conduct interview with. In this technique, every item in the population has an even chance and likelihood of being selected in the sample. Using the lottery method is one of the oldest ways and is a mechanical example of random sampling. In this method, the researcher gives each member of the population a number. Researchers draw numbers from the box randomly to choose samples. (2021 QuestionPro Survey Software)

There is a total of 39 CSC holders in Victorias City, which was rounded up to 40 in the utilization of this technique. Four was drawn out, which is equivalent to 10% – enough margin for errors.


A non- directive interview was utilized to generate first-hand information regarding the impact of ISF program on the lives of CSC holders. A non- directive interview is an unguided interview, including open-ended questions and use of spontaneous engagement.

They tend to be more open ended, informal, free flowing and flexible. Questions are not pre-set, although there might be some topics that the researchers wish to explore. This gives the interview some structure and direction. An unstructured interview is thus an interview which has no any set format but in which the interviewer might have some key questions formed in advance. Unstructured interviews proceed in such a manner – questions based on an interviewee’s responses are interrogated further and proceeds like a friendly conversation. (Published by MBA Skool Team, Last Updated: April 12, 2016)

Data gathering proceure

The following procedures were done in the conduct of the research:

  1. Permission to conduct this study was obtained by writing the Environmental Resources Office of Victorias City.
  2. As soon as the permission to conduct the study was granted, the selection of participants among the list provided by the LGU started.
  3. The researcher went to the office of the DENR in Bacolod City to interview the Chief Monitoring and Enforcement Section and gather information regarding co-management and PAC BARMA.
  4. The researcher reached out to the participants and in-depth interviews were conducted to four (4) CSC Holders in different places, time and date depending on the availability of the participants.
  5. Prior to the interview, a pre-interview discussion was done with the flow stated below:
  6. The researcher asked the consent of the participants that all the significant details expressed by the participants and all physical gestures will be noted down while the interview is going on.
  7. In order to ensure that the participants agree to the voluntariness of the interview, the researcher explained to them that any information they would share will be dealt with utmost confidentiality and will be used for research purposes only.  Furthermore, they were also assured that the things they would consider “off the record” will be eliminated and that in case they felt that they need to terminate the interviews at any time, they can do so with no legal or moral responsibility to the researcher.
  8. The flow of the interview proper
  9. To achieve in-depth interview and gather pertinent data about their experiences, data gathering was done in So. Gawahon, Victorias City where the participants reside as formerly awarded with Certificate of Stewardship Contract.
  10. The unstructured interview guide was utilized bases on the flow of the interview. Guided by a prepared set of open-ended questions, the researcher personally asked the participants questions to remember and recount their experiences with specific larger changes and developments (see Bertaux 1981, Rosenthal 2004).  The researcher made use of a video recording devices and field notes to capture the important details during interview.
  11. Lastly, the researcher went back to the LGU for alignment of data.


Data Analysis Procedure: The Told and The Telling

Respondent 1

Roli G. Menardo, is a 50-year-old CSC holder of ISF program in So. Gawahon, Victorias City. His family has been in the area since 1984 and he took over the management of the land from his father Virgildo M. Tupas.

According to Mr. Menardo, during the effectivity of the program and while their CSC was still valid, they were able to receive a lot of support from the government. They were supplied with seeds, tools used for farming, and even animal raising. Currently, he grows cacao, durian, and banana trees. He was also able to attend seminar which helped him enrich his knowledge about organic farming and planting crops in general.

Being the person in the family who’s now in charge of their land, Mr. Menardo is worried about their current status. He can attest that they never violate any of the terms as stipulated in the contract especially the selling because as obvious as it is, they still reside in their respective area granted by the government through the ISF program.

But given that they did not experience any changes in terms of living in their area brought about by the expiration of their contract, and that there has been zero attempt for them being forced to vacate, Mr. Menardo did not do anything about the expiration of their contract. When asked about what he would do in case they’d be asked to leave, he said they would simply ask for help from the government.

Respondent 2

Emmanuel Nisol is also a CSC holder since 1984 who inherited the contract from his father. He is the current chairman of the ISF Association and has been dedicated in developing their areas, committing no violations from the terms of the contract for them to not be granted with a renewal.

Mr. Nisol believes that the ISF program has been very beneficial for his family since then because the livelihood that they were able to build through time by planting and harvesting crop, helped him finish school.

As the chairman of ISF Association, Mr. Nisol is in contact with Victorias City Government and the Northern Negros ISF Federation, Inc. which gave him the latest update to resurvey the area which did not happen until this interview.

Now that the LGU and DENR is under co-management, Mr. Nisol is currently developing his area and turning it into a farm-resort hoping that someday it will become one of the eco-tourism spots that will help generate income.

Respondent 3

Reggil Villasis, 55 years old, took over the development of their area from his mother Ruth Villasis. They were residing in the area even way before 1984 which made them entitled to a CSC granted by the ISF program.

According to Mr. Villasis they did not violate any terms of the contract since 1984. They have been diligent in maintaining their areas, they have been accommodating all the support from the government, and have always been compliant. In the interview he said other CSC holders sold their areas because they were threatened to vacate upon the expiration of their CSCs. But Mr. Villasis and his family chose to keep the area and have only been waiting for updates from the LGU.

Now, they are able to improve their area without further aid or assistance from the government. They are developing and turning it into a farm-resort as well with the hopes that they may continue to manage it until it bears fruit. More than anything, Mr. Villasis wishes to renew their contract to have legal rights over the properties they are starting to build and develop. Otherwise, they are aimlessly waiting.

Respondent 4

Daniel Aliniabon, 57 year old, is a CSC holder of ISF program in So. Gawahon, Victorias City where his family has been living since 1984. Mr. Aliniabon took over the management of the land from his father and don’t recall committing any violation from the terms of the contract.

During the interview, Mr. Aliniabon expressed his appreciation to the government particularly for the ISF program for the improvement on their farms, for being able to sell in market with their own harvest, and having the roads going to their houses paved.

They also acknowledge all the support they received through cooperatives and supply of seeds, tools, and even animals, provided for the CSC Holders. Mr. Aliniabon is grateful for the seminars he was able to attend and learned about organic farming and planting crops. They were also secured with crop insurance in cases of calamity.

Mr. Aliniabon admitted to feeling powerless and defenseless without the renewal of their contract. He is still constantly reliant to the income he obtains from farming and now that their contract is expired, he is also in constant fear of the day that they would be forced to leave.  Despite having no rights however, Mr. Aliniabon said they will never leave the area which they have grown to love and develop. At least not until they will be forced to.

As of now, he is only waiting for report from PEMO, for any announcement with regard to their status. But above anything, Mr. Aliniabon wishes to renew their contract so they would no longer become illegal settlers.

This section deals with the presentation, analysis and interpretation of gathered data in answer to the problems and issues as discussed over the interview.

As stated under the Rights of the Grantee in the Stewardship Agreement, “In the event of the death or incapacity of the grantee before the expiration of this Agreement, the rights and privileges emanating therein shall pass on to any of his heirs who shall work on and develop the land in accordance with the terms of this Stewardship Agreement.” All four respondents namely Reggil Villasis, Daniel Aliniabon, Roli Menardo, and Emmanuel Nisol are all 2nd generation of CSC holders who inherited their CSC from their parents.

All respondents claimed that they did not violate any terms from the agreement, that they received support from the government, acknowledged that this program has been of great help for them not just in terms of shelter and livelihood but on additional farming knowledge they acquire through seminars conducted through this program.

Likewise, they all witnessed the environmental and social development in the whole area through the years under the ISF program. Roads have been paved, market sell increased, and forest cover was maintained.

However, all respondents like-minded feel powerless over the land they grew up in. Despite losing the effectivity of their CSCs, they said they wouldn’t leave their homes because half of them no longer have somewhere else to go, and the rest already invested in development without the assistance from the government. One of the respondents said that all the rest of the residence will still go and seek help from the LGU if ever they get kicked out. And that would raise another problem for the government.

In fact, there are some who keeps on developing their areas now and slowly transforming them into “resorts” are now in fear that they no longer have the rights and the power to fight for what they used to own. Some are not very much bothered because they said there was never an attempt from the government for forced eviction. Still, all of them wishes to renew their contracts to legalize their stay.

According to the respondents, some CS holders sold their contracts out of fear that they will be forced to vacate. While others simply abandoned.

Some were not aware of their chance for renewal, as they never heard of PAC BARMA and aimlessly waits for the PEMO to send them reports. Because of this reason, and that there was no notice for them to vacate yet, all respondents did not do anything about the expiration and non-renewal of their CSCs. They did not experience any difference on the effect of the expiration of their CSCs.

Integrated Social Forestry Program

In order to participate in the ISF program, one must have the following qualifications:

1. Members shall be Filipino citizens

2. Members may either be:

a. Actually tilling portions of the area to be awarded;

b. Traditionally utilizing the resource for all or substantial portion of their livelihood; or

c. Actually residing within or adjacent to the areas to be awarded.

The LGU of Victorias requested to conduct CSC Performance Evaluation at So. Gawahon, Brgy. XI, Victorias City last September 2013. Three performance evaluations were conducted: 1996, 1998, and 2013. After two evaluations, nine CSCs were cancelled.

The team composition who conducted the evaluation was composed of PENRO, CENRO Cadiz, PEMO, LGU of Victorias City representatives and ISF Association. Three teams were created to conduct the said evaluation.

The said evaluation was based on DENR Memo Circular No. 21 S of 1993 or known as the Revised Procedures on the Conduct of Performance Evaluation, Agreement, Cancellation and Compensation of CS Holder.

After the evaluation, 4 was given a notice of neglect, and 15 got cancellation orders.

Based on the CSC evaluation, assessment of land productivity is described in the existing potential land use were noted and observed as follows:

Existing/Potential Land Use: Eco-tourism, Forest and Fruit Tree Plantation, Protection

Existing Farm Products: Forest trees (Eucalyptus, Mangium, some endemic), Fruit Trees (Marang, Lanzones, Durian, Langka), Rice, Corn, other root crops

Other Source of Income: Buy and Sell of Farm Products (seasonal), Animal Raising, Fish Vending

The following problems are tabulated and listed below, to wit:

  1. Cancelled CSCs are occupied by the buyers with some improvements/developments introduced to the farm lots. Most of the buyers are also CSC Holders.
  2. Most of the CS holders are old/dis-abled and deceased. Farm lots are cultivated by their next of kin.
  3. Boundary Conflict between farm lots.
  4. Charcoal making waw observed on some portion of farmlots.


  • Cancellation of CSCs with delinquent records: abandonment and poor performance after three evaluations.
  • Transfer of CSC to the next kin with good performance or good standing record.
  • Survey of boundary conflicts by the CENRO per request of the association with the assistance of PEMO and LGU.
  • Strict implementation of Forestry Laws, Rules and Regulations.
  • Provide technical assistance.

The ISFP incorporates the best features of three people-oriented forestry programs implemented in the 1970’s, i.e., Forest Occupancy Management, Communal Tree Farming and Family Approach to Reforestation. The major features include granting long-term tenurial arrangements to qualified applicants, technical and modest material assistance and institution building aimed at developing capability for community-based resource management.

ISFP addresses the twin problems of rural poverty and ecological stability in occupied forest lands. Through ISFP, forest land occupants are provided secure access to land as well as technical and material aid to make the land productive without depleting it. Secure land tenure comes through either the Certificate of Stewardship Contracts (CSCs) for individuals, or the Community Forest Stewardship Agreements (CFSAs) for community organizations. In both cases, farm families are granted renewable 25-year leases on the public land which they occupy and cultivate. In the first years of the lease, the farmer receives technical assistance for developing selfsufficiency and sustainable farming practices.

The program provides assistance in the areas of agroforestry, land tenure and community organizing. Community organizing is applied to mobilize groups to obtain stewardship contracts, promote agroforestry and soil/water conservation and build local institutions. ISFP emphasizes improvement of existing farmer practices, not introduction of new ones except in situations where such may be necessary. Participatory strategies are used to gather data, diagnose field situations and monitor technical problems. Farm visits and training courses develop farmers’ skills in agroforestry and organization. In the process, community leaders are prepared to take responsibilities for continued development after the end of the project, tentatively set at five years.

Having the CSC in effect since 1984, the current status of CSC holders in the upland area of Victoirias City is now expired for 12 years, and remains unrenewed.

Co-management Agreement

A co-management of Communal Watershed/Ecotourism Area) Eco-Park) was also awarded to the LGU of Victorias City last 2004.

Under the Memorandum of Agreement entered into by and between the Department of Environment and Natural Resources with office address at DENR-PENRO, South Capitol Rd., Nursery Compound, Bacolod City, Negros Occidental represented by its Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer LIVINO B. DURAN hereinafter referred to as DENR.

The City of Victorias a Local Government Unit of the Republic of the Philippines, Represented by the former Mayor, Honorable Severo A. Palanca hereinafter referred to as LGU.

…to share with the national government the responsibility in the sustainable management and development of the environment and natural resources within their territorial jurisdiction;

Responsibilities of the Parties


  1. In coordination with the LGU of Victorias City, undertake a forest resource inventory and determine the sustainable level of forest resources management and utilization;
  2. Provide the LGU technical assistance in all facets of forest management planning to ensure sustainable resource management over the area;
  3. Identify, survey, and map the identified communal watershed/eco-tourism area with the assistance of the City of Victorias;
  4. Provide assistance in the formulation of Management Plan of the communal forest/watershed and eco-tourism area, review and endorse for the approval of the Regional Executive Director;
  5. Conduct regular monitoring and evaluation to ensure that implementation strictly adheres with the environmental protection and conservation measures as adopted in the approved Management Plan and other environmental/forestry laws, rules and regulations.


  1. Prepare the Management Plan of the devolved communal watershed / eco-tourism area for the approval of the Regional Executive Director Subject to the co0ncurrence of the Sangguniang Panlungsod in line with its Forest Land Use Plan over the area;
  2. Provide supervision, guidance and administration to the project implementation to ensure that the activity outputs are in accordance with the approved Management Plan, and other existing environmental and natural resources laws;
  3. Ensure that the implementation of activities shall strictly adhere to the environmental protection and conservation measures as adopted in the approved Management Plan;
  4. Submit annual report to the DENR for information and reference; and
  5. In collaboration with the DENR, take the lead in the resolution / settlement of any land conflict that may arise from this agreement.


  1. Cutting of trees shall be allowed provided it is within the approved management plan and only upon issuance of the corresponding authority or permit form the DENR.
  2. In the event of cancellation of this Agreement, any permanent improvements introduced therein shall form part of the property of DENR;
  3. Any matters necessary in, or related to, the project not specifically stated in the Agreement shall be covered by addendum agreement by all the parties;
  4. The presence of DILG official(s) shall be obligatory to be one of the witness in the signing of this Agreement pursuant to Joint DENR-DILG Memorandum Circular No. 2003-01.


This Memorandum of Agreement shall be binding for a period of Twenty-Five (25) Years or until August 2029 effective from the date of signing hereof and maybe renewed for another twenty five (25) years.

The said agreement was signed by Livino B. Duran – PENR Officer, DENR Representative and Severo A. Palanca, City Mayor of Victorias.

Ecological and Environmental Management

Since the area is within the Northern Negros Natural Park and with Co-management between the DENR and LGU of Victorias City, CSC farmlots are planted with various forest (fast growing and endemic species) and fruit trees with some agricultural and cash/root crops. Boundary planting between the farmlots is also observed. Fruit trees like marang, lanzones, langka, and durian are very well suited in the area and the farmers are already harvesting and selling their farm products to the market.

Socio – Economic Advancement

The PEMO and the LGU of Victorias City had given various project assistance to the association after the devolution of the Integrated Social Forestry Program. Livelihood projects and Food for Work program such as animal dispersal, rice assistance, hilly land, organic coffee, ANR: Refo and Rattan, and other farm input activities at communal farmlots of the farmers were among the assistance extended to the farmers. It has also availed the project under the National Greening Program (NGP) since 2011.

Sustainable Community Organization

The major objective of Integrated Social Forestry Program is to uplift the socio-economic condition of the upland farmers giving them initially all the technical and financial support from the DENR and the Local Government Unit. Both the government offices are full supporting their livelihood activities and other related environmental activities. With the co-management agreement with the DENR, the LGU of Victorias City is preparing for comprehensive management plan for Gawahon Eco-Park as one of the major Eco-Tourism sites in Victorias City. Part of the plan is the implementation of the community-based eco-tourism program which shall focus on organic agriculture, watershed protection and rehabilitation and other environmental protection and management program and to preserve wildlife and biodiversity within the area. All of this plan will be included in the new Comprehensive Land Use Plan of the City.


Protected Area Community Based Resource Management Agreement (PACBRMA) is an agreement entered into by and between the DENR and the organized tenured migrant communities or interested indigenous peoples in protected areas and buffer zones which has a term of twenty-five (25) years and renewable for another twenty-five (25) years. This agreement can be availed by all natural born Filipino.

Section 8. Termination or Cancellation of the PACBRMA. The termination or cancellation of the Agreement shall be as follows:

  1. Neglect or violation of the terms and conditions of the Agreement, after being notified in writing within one (1) month by the RED on behalf of the PAMB

b) Violation of environment arid natural resources laws, rules and regulations;

c) Conversion of the area or portions thereof, to other uses not authorized in the Protected Area Management Plan; and,

d) When the national interest so requires’ as determined by the DENR Secretary.

During the investigation of any of the aforementioned grounds, the RED may suspend the Agreement. In case a PACBRMA has been nullified, all improvements and development in the area shall be turned-over to the PAMB.

The said order was published in Malaya on September 10, 2004.

This program has been in effect since 2004, five years before the expiration of ISF program CSCs. Yet the chairman of the ISF Association was only called for a meeting regarding PACBARMA on September 1, 2020. However, since the DENR and the LGU of Victorias City were already under the co-management agreement, PACBARMA couldn’t push through.

Based on the DENR Memorandum on July 7, 2014, with the subject: Fmb Technical Bulletin No. 11 Supplemental Guide On The Evaluaton Of Certificate Of Stewardship Contracts (CSCs), the Renewal, Cancellation and Determination of Appropriate Land Tenure Instrument shall be as follow:

The CENRO has the authority to renew CSC with an area of 3 hectares and below while the PENRO renews CSC with an area of more than 3 hectares but not exceeding 5 hectares. The date of renewal shall reckon from the date of issuance totalling 50 years.

Those CSC holders whose performance were already evaluated prior to the issuance of the DENR Memorandum dated November 28, 2013 will not anymore be subject for investigation.

Based on the interview conducted with the DENR, despite the co-management agreement, the City of Victories still wouldn’t be eligible for this project when all of the CSC Holders already sold their contracts. This contradicts the results of the interview with the respondents when all of them still own and inhabit their respective areas. Therefore, the prohibition of PAC BARMA to be granted to Norther Negros ISF Program beneficiaries shall be void.


The researcher found out that the Local Government Unit interfered with the program supposedly handled by the DENR when they decided to push for co-management instead of contract renewal.

The researcher concludes that the upland folks were stripped off with their potential chance to have a security of tenure with a renewal of another 25 years with PACBARMA on the lands that they have cultivated and developed since time immemorial. In fact, all of the respondents interviewed for this research have not done any violation, so much so that they never sold their portions.

On June 6, 2019, CENRO Officer Mr. Rally L. Cagayanan, sent a letter to the Mayor of Victorias requesting for the Cancellation of all CSCs inside Gawahon Eco-Park. The reason for which is to prevent unauthorized persons from further occupying and illegally constructing structures on these areas and causing unruly behavior inside the Eco-Park. However, this was never put into action up to this day.

Having read this letter, the researcher concludes that there is already a threat to all those remaining CSC holders who still reside in Gawahon Eco-Park. Meanwhile, the CSC holders having no legal rights under co-management, are at risk of being evicted anytime.

The researcher further concludes that the government never once attempted to issue an order of official cancellation because they are obliged to render support, such as a housing project to all those inhabitants shall they be forced to vacate the area. Otherwise, these people will opt to illegally settle in the rural areas which raises another problem for the government. Furthermore, the effect of such forced eviction can be even more problematic for the former CSC Holders.

Republic Act No. 7279 published on March 24, 1992, with the title: An Act To Provide For A Comprehensive And Continuing Urban Development And Housing Program, Establish The Mechanism For Its Implementation, And For Other Purposes states the responsibility of the LGU in terms of urban renewal and resettlement, and the action against professional squatters and squatting syndicates. Article VII of the act reads as follow:

SEC. 26. Urban Renewal and Resettlement. – This shall include the rehabilitation and development of blighted and slum areas and the resettlement of Program beneficiaries in accordance with the provisions of this Act. On-site development shall be implemented whenever possible in order to ensure minimum movement of occupants of blighted lands and slum areas. The resettlement of the beneficiaries of the Program from their existing places of occupancy shall be undertaken only when on-site development is not feasible and after compliance with the procedures laid down in Section 28 of this Act.

SEC. 27. Action Against Professional Squatters and Squatting Syndicates. – The local government units, in cooperation with the Philippine National Police, the Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor (PCUP), and the PCUP-accredited urban poor organization in the area, shall adopt measures to identify and effectively curtail the nefarious and illegal activities of professional squatters and squatting syndicates, as herein defined.

Any person or group identified as such shall be summarily evicted and their dwellings or structures demolished, and shall be disqualified to avail of the benefits of the Program. A public official who tolerates or abets the commission of the abovementioned acts shall be dealt with in accordance with existing laws.

For purposes of this Act, professional squatters or members of squatting syndicates shall be imposed the penalty of six (6) years imprisonment or a fine of not less than Sixty thousand pesos (P60,000.00) but not more than One hundred thousand pesos (P100,000), or both, at the discretion of the court.

In a seven-year program by the Philippine Government to relocate informal settlers as part of rehabilitating Manila Bay, a certain Armida Alfonso, 38 year-old settler said in a news interview:

“Living here is fine, Alfonso says. “We get by every day, no matter what.” But she says some residents go back to squatter areas even though the government has given them a decent place to live. They sell their units to other informal settlers who didn’t meet the requirements for a unit.

Finally, the implication of co-management is that all support must come from the LGU. Apparently, the LGU of Victorias City is being tolerative and passive about this situation because they can’t provide relocation. Meanwhile, the CSC Holders of So. Gawahon, Victorias City are blindly assuming ownership and continues to develop their areas.


In the understanding of The Life of North Negros Forest Reserve Inhabitants: Impact of Integrated Social Forestry Program, the following aspects need to be considered and explored as explicitly revealed by the findings of the study:

  1. From the point of view of the CSC Holders, who seem to be in the burden of insecurity with their current situation, they must take the initiative to organize an agreement or contract between them and the LGU for assurance and security of their homes and livelihood. The ISF Association may send a request to Victorias Integrated Social Forestry Farmers’ Association (VISSFA) which have the juridical capacity to recognize and acknowledge the said agreement, together and witnessed by the DENR.
  2. From the point of view of Victorias City LGU, who seem to be passive about the situation, they may provide both residential and livelihood programs for the former beneficiaries of the ISF program shall they need to clear Gawahon area to focus on eco-tourism.
  3. From the point of view of future researchers, it is advised to look further into the reason why some of the CSC Holders, who were not interviewed in this research, sold their areas and how they were able to do so given that they don’t permanently own the lands. Accordingly, to whom did these people sold their lands to?
  4. Additionaly, the researcher recommends to discover how the co-management was entered before the expiration of the ISF contract which was 5 years earlier
  5. Lastly, the researcher would also like to recommend to further study the implementation of PAC BARMA and if the same cannot be granted to the ISF program beneficiaries in Victorias City.

At the end of the day, the basic needs of the people such as shelter and livelihood should be the top priority of the state more than tourism. The farmers in particular, who play an important role in the society shall begin and learn to uphold their rights.


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The researcher would like to express her deep gratitude and appreciation for the countless blessings the Almighty God has bestowed upon the people who shared their generosity in various ways for the accomplishment of this research.

Atty. Jocelle Batapa, for being patient and understanding, for always being accommodating about my concerns in this study, for the intellectual suggestions, valuable insights, and the zeal to help the researcher to embark upon the challenge of the academe.

Miss Remia C. Buaron, Chief of Monitoring & Enforcement Section, for being my key informant from DENR, accommodating my questions, and providing me with important information for this research.

Miss Lara Ann A. Garcia, Special Operations Officer and OIC of Victorias City Environmental Resources Office, for being my key informant from the LGU, accommodating my questions, and providing me with important information for this research.

My parents Samson and Sandra, my sisters Yvette and Bea, for the prayers, support, and understanding that inspired the researcher to finish this research.

Thank you very much. To God be the glory.


  1. Sample of Certificate of Stewardship Contract and location map
  2. Letter of request for cancellation of CSC
  3. Letter to ISF Association Chairman
  4. Interview data
  5. ISF Evaluation Report

The Life of North Negros Forest Reserve Inhabitants: Impact of Integrated Social Forestry Program

A Legal Research Presented to the College of Law

University of St. La. Salle

Bacolod City

In Partial Fulfillment

of the Requirements for the Degree Juris Doctor

Ma. Mercedes L. Garzon

January 2021

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