“Wala po itong rambutan kung wala ang DENR. Isa po ito sa pinagkukunan ng allowance ng tatlong anak kong kolehiyo.” Thus said Donato Gammad, chairperson of the Kadikitan Association for Community Development (KAFCD) in Nagtipunan, Quirino.
KAFCD, a people’s organization (PO) with over 200 members, is a partner of the DENR in the National Greening Program (NGP).
During the site visit and interaction with DENR Regional Executive Director Gwendolyn C. Bambalan, Gammad and other members of the PO narrated how the NGP is able to uplift their socio-economic condition. “Noong 2018 nga po, kumita ako ng P120,000,” Gammad said.
In 2011, the DENR has entered into a memorandum of agreement with KAFCD for the development of a 10-hectare fruit orchard in support of NGP. The plantation is within the 4,958-hectare Community-Based Forest Management area awarded to them by the DENR in 1994.
The rambutan plantation of Gammad used to be a grassland covered with shrubs and cogon. With NGP, it now serves as a show window of the community where his neighbors are also encouraged to plant.
“Sa pamamagitan po ng DENR, kami pong mga people’s organizations ang isa sa pinakamatibay na katuwang ng pamahalaan sa environmental protection,” Gammad said. He expressed optimism that the program of the government for forest and watershed management through the NGP will continue.
The PO chairperson also voiced elation over the visit of the regional executive director. "Sa totoo lang po, sa tagal na namin dito eh kayo po ang unang RED na bumisita sa amin," Gammad said.
Adjacent to Gammad’s plantation is the Cagayan River which supports the Upper Cagayan River Watershed and the sub-watersheds of Gibien, Gawagan and Nalongtotan.
In her message, Director Bambalan thanked the KAFCD for supporting the government’s efforts to rehabilitate the forests and watersheds. She said NGP is one of the programs of the DENR that aims to mitigate the effects of climate change while providing additional income thereby improving the quality of life of the upland communities.
“Masaya ako dahil ang financial assistance na binigay sa inyo ng gobyerno ay inyo pong inayos. Natutuwa po ang aming opisina kapag ganyan ang mga PO,” RED Bambalan said.
The regional environment chief vowed that the DENR will coordinate with the Department of Trade and Industry to help the members in marketing their harvests. “Napakagandang prutas ang rambutan. In terms of demand, wala kayong problema. Kung paano lang makarating sa tamang merkado para mas maganda ang presyo,” she said.
“Salamat at maayos ninyong inimplement ang NGP. Kahit papano, meron na kayong nakikitang stable source of income,” Director Bambalan said in closing.#