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Sorsogon water firm joins NGP by reforesting local watershed areas

SORSOGON CITY, May 27 -– Alarmed by the dwindling output of existing local sources of water, the Sorsogon City Water District (SCWD) has launched a reforestation program to restore the forest cover of watershed areas within the city’s territorial forestlands and in support to the government’s National Greening Program (NGP).

“We have launched a continuing tree planting program in watershed areas covered by at least five upland barangays of the city and the NGP being pursued by the administration of President Aquino serves as our inspiration in going ahead with this activity,” SCWD General Manager Ronaldo Barbonio said on Friday.

The SCWD, Barbonio said, is initiating the reforestation activities in partnership with residents in the barangays "to involve them not only in our efforts towards restoring our forests but also in government’s desire to protect and preserve our environment.”

Barbonio said some of these villagers are involved in illegal cutting of trees for livelihood either for sale as lumber, firewood or charcoal but the SCWD wanted to make them understand that these are detrimental to the environment and may bring disaster to their barangays.

The past several years, he said the service areas of SCWD have been experiencing severe water supply shortage owing to the high temperature brought about by the global warming and aggravated by the dwindling forest cover within the local watershed areas due to unabated cutting of trees.

“We are thankful to the NGP and the logging moratorium that are both environmental measures declared by President Aquino which we consider a long-been overdue moves to restore our lost forests and preserve the remaining few,” Barbonio said.

To fully achieve its goals, he said the government environmental program need the support and cooperation of other stakeholders such as the private sector, local and barangay officials and residents.

"That is why we are spearheading and sustaining these tree planting activities as our contribution,” he said.

Barbonio said the SCWD intends to cover some 200 hectares of watershed areas to be planted with some one million fruit bearing and forest trees within three years. Planting materials would be sourced from nurseries being maintained by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Department of Agriculture (DA) and local private propagators.

And to reduce the use of firewood and wood charcoal as fuel, the SCWD chief said the technology on green charcoal that uses leaves instead of wood in charcoal-making should be developed and promoted as an alternative. The technology on volcanic rocks as fuel should also be introduced, he added. (PNA) scs/LAM/LQ/DOC/cbd

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