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DENR vows to green Sorsogon by 2016

By Danny O. Calleja

SORSOGON CITY, July 29 – While most parts of Bicol are picking up from the debris left over the week by typhoon Juaning that triggered floods and landslides attributed to denuded forests, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) along with various stake holders has vowed to green Sorsogon province by 2016.

To be spearheaded by the DENR’s Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) based here, the undertaking which will be in cooperation with other agencies and stakeholders would see to it that the 440 hectares of critically deforested areas in the province are planted with 150,000 trees within the last five months of this year.

The next five years will see more areas to include urban parks, subdivision lots, street and highway sides, among others planted with all the tree seedlings they could accommodate and growth healthily, Camacho said.

“We are applying the sustainable environment mechanism of the National Greening Program (NGP) of the administration of President Benigno Aquino III in this endeavor, Renato Camacho, the head of the DENR’s Community Environment and Natural Resources (CENRO) based here on Friday said.

The CENRO, along with other agencies and basic sectors have come up with strategies for the massive planting activities as everybody agreed with the commitment of the province for a “Green Sorsogon” in accordance with the NGP by 2016, Camacho said stressing that as what the Program wants it, “we will not just raise trees but change the way we think about trees and forest”.

Its key feature, he said is to correct certain gaps in past reforestation undertakings where planting is left at the discretion of the tree planters which usually were concentrated in areas that were most convenient to them without regard to whether the tree seedlings planted will thrive in those areas.

Before, civil society groups, government and private sectors are allowed to plant without concerned government agencies such as the DENR and the Department of Agriculture (DA) prescribing them how, where and what to plant, he said.

This time under NGP, convenience is not really an issue but whether somebody will take care of what have been planted. “We will only plant in tenured areas, meaning, where there are communities who will take care of the plantation. Nurturing plays a key role in NGP,” Camacho stressed.

“In the NGP system, we will have people’s organizations to take care of the planted seedlings since the benefits of the planted seedlings will accrue to them,” he explains.

What is to be done is for the DENR through the CENRO, the other agencies like DA and Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) and the private stakeholders to philanthropically commit their resources and manpower for this program as NGP presents an opportunity to everyone to reinvest them back into the country’s forest, Camacho said.

NGP which was adopted by the national government through Executive Order (EO) 26 issued by Pres. Aquino last May 13 intends to plant 1.5 billion trees in about 1.5 million hectares for a period of six years from 2011 to 2016.

The areas to be planted as mapped out by the CENRO in detail have provided the sites and seedlings to be planted wherein 190 hectares for 52,500 seedlings in the Protected Area sites, 90 hectares for the Excess Areas with 45,000 seedlings to be planted and for the Ancestral Domain, 10 hectares will planted with 5,000 seedlings.

CENRO forester Crisanta Marlen Rodriguez said that in the Protected Area sites, 40 hectares are located the Bacon district of this city; 60 hectares in Juban town; five hectares in the municipality of Pilar; 30 hectares in Magallanes; and 80 hectares within the Mt. Bulusan Natural Park.

Other protected areas that were identified within the 250,000 reservation site of the Bacon-Manito (Bac-Man) geothermal field are 40 hectares within this city and 60 hectares in the municipality of Castilla.

Sites under the Community-Based Forest Management (CBFM) that fall within the Excess Areas classification to be planted are 30 hectares in Castilla; 50 hectares in Magallanes; and 20 hectares in Bulan for a total of 100 hectares, Rodriguez said.

For the Ancestral Domain, the National Council on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) in Matnog town has also identified 10 has for planting.

Local government units, non-governmental organizations, people’s organizations including indigenous groups have committed to take part in the program, she added. (PNA)


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