The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) mourns the death of Forester Rodrigo Fuentes, executive director of the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity (ACB) based in Los Baños, Laguna.
Fuentes, who turned 54 last July 9, passed away Monday after a long battle with lung cancer. His remains lie at the St. Therese Chapel at the University of the Philippines in Los Baños, Laguna. He is survived by wife, Elsa, and two sons, Ralph Andre and Ralph Alphonse.
“In behalf of the DENR, we express our deepest sorrow for the loss of Dir. Fuentes, whom we shared a common vision for the protection and conservation of not only the country’s biodiversity resources but all of the ASEAN region,” DENR Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje said.
With heavy heart, Paje reminisced their younger days as co-workers at the Project Management Office of then Bureau of Forest Development, now Forest Management Bureau.
“As we are both foresters and fresh graduates then of the UPLB-College of Forestry, we dreamed together, along with the rest of the team, of how we could push for reforms in managing our forest resources. And somehow, we achieved a certain level of success,” Paje said.
Fuentes, fondly called Rod by colleagues and friends, later held various management positions in the DENR as regional executive director and as chief of the Environmental Management Bureau.
After his stint at the DENR, he went on to engage in either consultancy or as technical advisor to different intergovernmental and multi-lateral organizations such as the ASEAN, Asian Development Bank, United Nations agencies and the World Bank where his work brought him to countries such as China, Germany, India, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, Pakistan, Syria, Switzerland and Thailand.
As a sustainable development and urban and regional planning expert, Fuentes also specialized in environmental program design and project development, policy and institutional assessment, environmental monitoring and assessment, and capacity development in environmental management and sustainable development.