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DENR to hire Mindanao typhoon victims for reforestation work

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03:55 PM February 26th, 2013

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February 26th, 2013 03:55 PM

Environment Secretary Ramon Paje. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—More than 4,000 residents of Compostela Valley and Davao Oriental affected by Typhoon Pablo in December will be hired to assist in the government’s reforestation effort in the disaster-hit areas, the government said on Tuesday.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources has earmarked P229.8 million to employ 4,206 residents of the two provinces hardest hit by the typhoon  which killed more than 1,000 people, left scores more missing, and destroyed billions of pesos in crops and infrastructure.

Environment Secretary Ramon Paje, in a statement, said the “cash-for-work” project would be implemented through the National Greening Program in partnership with the local government units, and people’s organizations.

Paje described the project as a “twin approach to help affected residents rebuild their lives while taking direct participation in the government’s greening program.”

“Rather than looking at it as a setback, we should take this  as a challenge to bolster the gains of NGP with greater optimism as we overcome  little battles such as those in Compostela Valley and Davao Oriental,” he added.

Paje said 15,321 hectares of denuded and open forestlands in the two provinces will be rehabilitated with 7.6 million seedlings to be planted and maintained by cash-for-work beneficiaries as part of the DENR’s resolve to recoup NGP’s losses in Pablo’s aftermath.

Of that amount, Compostela Valley will receive P132 million to cover the cost of rehabilitating 9,198 hectares to be planted with 4.6 million seedlings, while Davao Oriental will get P97.8 million for the planting and growing of 3 million seedlings covering 6,123 hectares.

DENR Region 11 Executive Director Joselin Marcus Fragada said the DENR lost some P90 million in forestry and coastal managements projects alone due to the typhoon.

The agency also lost P28 million worth of seedlings planted under the NGP in 2011 and 2012 to Pablo, consisting of indigenous and fruit trees, including high-value crops like coffee, cacao and rubber trees.

Fragada added that the typhoon victims would be hired on a rotational period of two months per batch, for a total of three batches in each province.

Each batch shall consist of 905 laborers in Compostela Valley and 497 laborers for Davao Oriental.  Each laborer will be paid P226 per day of work.

The NGP is one of the priority programs of the government aimed at reducing poverty, ensuring food security, conserving biodiversity and mitigating the effects of climate change.

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