18 river basins eyed in national greening plan



Eighteen major river basins, including those found in Mindanao, will be given priority in the government’s National Greening Program (NGP) in the aftermath of Tropical Storm “Sendong,” officials said Wednesday.

The government this year is aiming to plant seedlings in 200,000 hectares of protected and production areas across the country under the NGP, double that of last year’s 100,000-hectare target, said Assistant Secretary Marlo Mendoza of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

Of the more than 400 river basins in the country, 18 are considered major and they will be the ones prioritized this year, Mendoza said. Their watersheds will be reforested to better stabilize slopes and avert flashfloods, he said.

“A big portion of Bukidnon, where the headwaters of the Cagayan River [originate], will be targeted,” Mendoza said.

Illegal logging

Illegal logging has been blamed for the disaster in Iligan City, where many communities were swept away by flood waters carrying logs that had tumbled down from a watershed in Lanao del Sur.

While President Benigno Aquino III imposed a moratorium on logging in February 2011, this was believed to have been largely ignored in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARRMM), which includes Lanao del Sur.

Mendoza, who is the NGP coordinator, conceded that reforestation may just prove no match for climate change, particularly the increasing trend of intense rainfall over a short period of time.

“Even though we’re aggressive in slope stabilization and watershed protection, and whether you have a very good forest cover, because of climate change and the unique phenomenon of very intense rainfall over a short period of time, you’ll always have flashfloods,” he said.

Geo-hazard maps

He said the most immediate measure that authorities can take is for the local government units to be equipped with geo-hazard maps so they can move residents out of settlement areas in danger zones.

“Although we’re embarking on a massive greening program, the LGUs should be conscious in properly implementing proper settlement and zoning. Flashfloods will always happen,” he said.

The DENR planted 69.37 million seedlings in some 117,688 hectares of forest lands in 2011, way above the 100,000-ha target. It aims to plant 1.5 million seedlings in 1.5 million hectares nationwide by 2016.

Priority areas include mangrove and protected areas, ancestral domain areas, civil and military areas, urban areas under the greening plan of local government units, and abandoned mine sties, among others.

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Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of INQUIRER.net. We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_IOQ4UHZ3OCDDBDOWCA5O3AEQBM Cayetano

    It’s just another news breaker, nothing more. Only in newspaper but not in reality. . 

  • dadomakapal

    We have to start somewhere.  The people victimized by the floods and landslides were not responsible for the logging and denudation in these areas.  The big time loggers are now living abroad and in plush villages and villa–away from the disasters.

  • kruger

    Nakupo, sana ‘di lang puro ‘wento to para me ‘wenta!

    Reforestation is a long-term solution and should be undertaken non-stop, and not for pogi-points only!

    Parallel to this, however, the government should also embark on the more immediately attainable and enforceable solution:  Crack the whip on those who kill our trees!

    “…you’ll always have flashfloods.” says Mendoza.  I don’t agree.  Flashfloods occur because water is being unnaturally impounded by cut logs that converge on choke points upstream.  These act as temporary retaining walls which ultimately give way to mounting water pressure.  Result?  A torrent of mud, logs and water whose kinetic energy is much worse than a tsunami!

    If there are no more natural foliage that can absorb the greater volume of water, we can always direct its flow towards a safe area or much better, we can provide water basins or coffer dams to collect this precipitation and use it as we please – this of course should be simultaneous with massive tree-planting all over the place!

    1.  Make tree-planting a mandatory requirement for all our public schools to start with.
    2.  Declare all critical areas surrounding choke points upstream as no man’s land.
    3.  Provide alternative sources of income through bayanihan or rural cooperatives.
    4.  Tell the NPA to lay down their arms and live fairly and squarely, or else…

    Aanhin pa ang damo kung patay na ang kabayo?

    • WeAry_Bat

      Very good news report.  Very good suggestion by the commentator as well as insight to the sudden rise of waters during Sendong..

      I hope continuous action is taken.

      And yes, the NPA should stop fighting and maybe help out.  I figure some of them got washed out also by Sendong.

  • http://twitter.com/eladnhoj JD Dianala

    I hope they do check the soil and the rock type if it is suitable for the plant growth, or else it will be a wasted effort.

  • qwitzach

    so where are these 18 basins? story is incomplete.

  • http://joboni96.myopenid.com/ joboni96

    sanay magtagumpay kayo at
    gumamit ng pilipino solutions

    baka mag import pa kayo nyan

  • surigao_miners

    18 basins? saan saan? puro kayo porma. PAJE JASARENO ACOSTA mag resign na kayo! mga P—-INA NYO!

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