P9.2M in funding from 4Ps tapped for greening project
LOS BAÑOS, Laguna—Some P9.2 million in funds from the government’s conditional cash transfer (CCT) program for poor families will be tapped to enhance the National Greening Program (NGP), a flagship project of President Aquino, particularly in portions of the Sierra Madre forests in Rizal and Quezon provinces.
Some 1,000 beneficiaries of the antipoverty scheme called the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), among them members of the Dumagat tribe, will be directed to grow trees, weed and maintain nursery facilities.
They will be identified by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), which leads the government’s CCT scheme that aims to help the country’s “poorest of the poor” improve the health, nutrition and education of children aged up to 18 years.
The DSWD and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources in Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon) have partnered with the US Agency for International Development (USAID) for this “enhancement” program of the NGP.
On July 27, a memorandum of understanding was signed by the participating agencies represented by Environment Regional Director Reynulfo Juan; Social Welfare Regional Director Leticia Diokno; and Jeremy Gustafson, director of the USAID Office of Environment, Energy and Climate Change.
In an e-mailed statement, Gustafson said the “collaboration will lead us a step closer to achieving our shared goal of broad-based, inclusive and resilient growth for Filipinos.”
The USAID, through its Biodiversity and Watersheds Improved for Stronger Economy and Ecosystem Resilience Program, will provide technical training on forest management and forest-based livelihood.
1.5B trees to be planted
Under the NGP, 1.5 billion trees are expected to be planted in 1.5 million hectares of land nationwide until 2016. The project will run until the end of the President’s term next year.
“We have already started (identifying areas), mostly on the boundary of Tanay, San Mateo and Antipolo City (in Rizal province) and General Nakar (in Quezon province),” Rizal environment officer Isidro Mercado said in a phone interview on Sunday.
While it has no target yet on the number of trees to be planted, Mercado said the reforestation effort would cover 2,000 ha in the Upper Marikina River Basin Protected Landscape (total area: 26,125 ha) in Rizal and in the Kaliwa Watershed Forest Reserve (total area: 27,613 ha) in Quezon.
The watersheds, both part of the Sierra Madre range that spans from Cagayan province in the north to Quezon in the south, are not only home to rich flora and fauna but also play significant roles in supplying water and reducing flood in Metro Manila.
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