[ Manila Bulletin Online ] February 21, 2009
DENR taps Cordillera households, groups for ‘greening project’
BAGUIO CITY — At least 7,730 hectares of critical watersheds and forest reservations in the six provinces of the Cordillera will be the target of extensive reforestation in a one-year period.
This was announced by Primitivo C. Galinato Jr., Region 1 executive director (RED) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in the Cordillera.
He said millions of pesos will be invested by the national government in the re-greening of heavily denuded watersheds which serve as the headwaters of the 13 river systems in Northern Luzon.
Aside from an -million loan from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) for the integrated environment and natural resources management program, the DENR has formulated an upland development program for the reforestation of critical watersheds and forests.
Galinato said that 7,730 households in the Cordillera will benefit from the upland development program because each household will be given one hectare of forest to reforest and maintain for one year.
At the same time, 77 people’s organizations (POs) in the different parts of the region will be asked to establish their nurseries to produce the tree seedlings needed for the reforestation project.
Out of the 7,730 hectares to be reforested, 1,611 hectares are in Apayao, 1,500 hectares in Kalinga, 1,336 in Ifugao, 1,218 hectares in Abra, 1,200 in Mountain Province, and 868 hectares in Benguet.
Earlier, the Regional Development Council (RDC) in the Cordillera identified the area at the common boundary of Benguet, Ifugao and Mountain Province as one of the critical watersheds in the region.
It is threatened by the massive conversion of forest lands into commercial vegetable farms. Timber poaching is also rampant in the area.
As a result of the alarming situation of Cordillera watersheds and forests, the RDC organized several quick-response teams composed of representatives of various agencies. The teams are tasked to prevent the further degradation of the forests.
To ensure the success of the implementation of the upland development project, Galinato said, more programs will be put in place in the near future. These would focus on the preservation and protection of the planted tree seedlings.
He noted that in the past, the reforestation projects were abandoned after the planting of the trees.
A lot has been learned from previous projects, he said, and so appropriate measures have already been put in place to prevent the money to be invested from being wasted by unscrupulous individuals involved in the implementation of the projects.