Sultan Kudarat allots P10M for tree plantation

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/25 February) — The provincial government of Sultan Kudarat has allocated some P10 million for the development starting this year of a 200-hectare tree plantation in Lutayan town.

Datu Tungko Saikol, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Region 12 director, said Tuesday the local government recently started the initial preparations for the project, which it adopted as among its priority reforestation initiatives.

He said the agency will be assisting the project’s implementation through the government’s flagship National Greening Program (NGP).

“The project will mainly focus on the planting of high-value trees like rubber and other indigenous tree species,” the official said in a statement.

Saikol said the local government has designated a farmer’s group based in the project area in Barangay Tanansang in Lutayan as the project’s main implementer.

He said the group, which is called Barangay Tanansang Farmers’ Association, is composed of B’laan tribal residents.

Sultan Kudarat Gov. Suharto Mangudadatu has already approved the release of the initial funding for the project, which was also endorsed by its provincial board.

Rep. Raden Sakaluran of the province’s first district committed additional funding support for the project, which is the first NGP initiative in Lutayan town.

Saikol said they pushed for the implementation of the reforestation project, which is among the biggest in the region this year, as part of their climate change adaptation initiatives.

He said the agency has been encouraging the launching massive tree planting activities in the region to help build up the area’s “carbon sink.”

“These will eventually take in and process the excess carbon dioxide that we excrete, preventing the potential damages that they might create to our environment,” he explained.

Carbon dioxide is one of the greenhouse gases that cause global warming, which is considered “a “man-made calamity,” Saikol said.

Under the NGP, DENR-12 was able to cover a total of 15,862 hectares and planted around 7.9 million trees last year.

NGP, which is based on Executive Order 26 issued by President Benigno S. Aquino III, is a nationwide reforestation project that aims to plant 1.5 billion trees in 1.5 million hectares from 2011 to 2016 for poverty reduction, food security, livelihood development, biodiversity conservation, and climate change mitigation and adaptation.

During its launching in 2011, DENR-12 facilitated the planting of 2,332,500 trees in 4,705 hectares of combined public areas throughout the region.

In 2012, the agency was able to cover a total of 11,833 hectares of public lands and planted about 4,452,000. (MindaNews)