P452M earmarked for Calabarzon tree-planting
SAN PEDRO CITY—The national government has allotted P452 million to rehabilitate over 17,000 hectares of denuded forest land in the Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon) region this year under the government’s National Greening Program (NGP).
Reynulfo Juan, head of the Calabarzon DENR, said his office had already identified a combined area of 17,164 ha all over the region to be planted with fruit-bearing and indigenous tree species within the year.
Half of the area marked for the reforestation project, 8,588 ha, is in Quezon province. At least 5,337 ha is in Rizal province, 3,019 ha in Laguna province, 200 ha in Batangas province and 20 ha in Cavite province.
Juan said the project had started in January with the search for suppliers for the seedlings. Once purchase contracts had been completed for the seedlings, Juan said his office would prepare the planting sites with the help of people’s organizations.
If the project is completed, Juan said the 17,000 ha of reforested area would be in addition to 63,000 ha of forest land already reforested in Calabarzon since 2011 under NGP. At least 30 million trees had already been planted in the region, he said.
NGP is a flagship program of the Aquino administration seeking to reforest 1.5 million ha of land by 2016.
Juan said Calabarzon has a total forest area of about 500,000 ha. At least 119,000 ha of this had been classified as denuded.
The 17,000 ha plus 63,000 ha of reforested land in Calabarzon would comprise 70 percent of the target area for reforestation in the region, said Juan.
The reforestation program, he said, is not for the environment only but also meant “to provide livelihood” to people who would be involved in tree-planting activities.
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