Greening Program target for 2015 is 65% complete – DENR XI

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 23 July) – The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) XI completed 65 percent of its target for the National Greening Program (NGP) this year.

In an interview Thursday, Forester Gloria Suboan, chief of the Production Management Section and Conservation and Development Division of DENR XI, said the agency’s target for this year is 18,810 hectares.

The agency is eyeing to plant at least 500 seedlings per hectare, or equivalent to around 9,405,000 trees for the entire Davao Region this year.

Of the total, Davao Oriental has the biggest areas to be developed at 5,855 has. Compostela Valley came in second at 5,769 hectares, followed by Davao del Sur at 5,121 hectares, and Davao del Norte at 2,065 hectares.

DavOr and ComVal were among the most hit when Typhoon Pablo landed in the region in December 2012. DENR XI replanted 700 hectares in DavOr and 1,000 hectares in ComVal after Pablo.

The areas that have been identified as flood prone based on the geo-hazard maps of the Mines and Geoscience Bureau (MGB) are no longer rehabilitated.

“If that’s already identified as flood prone, we are not replanting it,” Suboan said.

She said several people’s organizations and companies have been tapped in the implementation of NGP, most especially partnering with the communities to ensure that the seedlings planted will survive.

Among the fruit trees that are recommended under the NGP are coffee, cacao, and rubber, which provide livelihood for the communities in the hinterland.

Davao City Councilor Leonardo Avila III, who was the former chief of the City Agriculture Office (CAO), recommended the planting of fruit trees under agro-reforestation program, saying that these will prevent the farmers in the hinterland to cut trees, as these will provide them livable income in the long run.

“As of now, some POs who joined in the tree planting are now starting to earn. There are also buyers who get supply from them,” Suboan said.

Among the objectives of NGP include food security and poverty reduction. Others include biodiversity conservation, climate change mitigation and adaptation, and sustainable development.

The five-year NGP seeks to plant 1.5 billion trees covering 1.5 million hectares nationwide. In the region, the agency eyes to develop 64,183 hectares with 32,348,512 seedlings.

The NGP was implemented after President Benigno S. Aquino III signed Executive Order (EO) No. 26 on February 24, 2011.

The Davao River Basin Master Plan, which contains the interventions of the agency and other stakeholders in the conservation and protection of Davao River, has already been endorsed to the Regional Development Council (RDC) XI and DENR central office.

Once approved, Suboan said they can propose for funds to finance the activities related to the protection and conservation of the watershed.