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REFORESTATION PARTNERSHIP. Officials from the local government unit (LGU) of Quirino, Isabela and Provincial Environment and Natural Resources (PENR) Sub-Office in Roxas recently inspected the five-year old Gmelina plantation in Sto. Domingo, Quirino town.

The 150-hectare plantation under the National Greening Program (NGP) was awarded to LGU Quirino in 2016 after its Forest Grazing Lease Agreement expired in 2015.

Julius Miguel, municipal planning and development coordinator (former Municipal Environment and Natural Resources Officer) said they joined the NGP to show their commitment to environmental preservation.

“Our municipality allotted budget for the establishment of perimeter fence to secure the area. The budget we received form DENR were used for the preparation of the site and for the seedlings we initially planted,” Miguel said. He also said they hired workers for nursery establishment, seedling production and for maintenance and protection.

“Dito na rin sila nakatira para mabantayan ang plantation lalo na kung magsisiga ang mga may ari ng katabing pastulan. Sayang ang pinaghirapan namin ng limang taon kung masisira lang,” he added.

According to Jose Queddeng, NGP coordinator, LGU Quirino tapped barangay officials, 4Ps and TUPAD beneficiaries to conduct planting and maintenance and protection activities. He also said Egrets, migratory birds, have frequently visited the area.

Joining the visit were PENR Sub-Office Isabela In-charge Proceso Canapi, LGU Quirino MENRO Francisca Diago and PENR Office Isabela personnel.#

PLANTING TREES, REAPING HAPPINESS. “Gusto ko sanang bumalik sa abroad. Pero habang nakikita ko ang mga puno na lumalaki, nabubuhayan ako ng loob. Napamahal na ako rito. Masaya ako rito.” Roderic Mallanao, chairman of Barangay San Antonio Reforestation Association (BSARA) shared his testimony on how the National Greening Program (NGP) changed his perspective in life.

“Sa tingin ng iba ay kahoy lang, pero kailangan mahalin parin. Mahalaga ang bawat puno para sa ikakabuti ng kalikasan. Masaya akong maging parte ng NGP,” Mallanao said. The 100-hectare NGP plantation established in San Antonio, Cabagan, Isabela was awarded to the association in 2016.

With only nine members, the then pasture land transformed into a Gmelina forest with over 70,000 trees.

Roven Talaue, site leader said ring weeding and patrolling are regularly conducted to avoid grass fire and to prevent stray animals from destroying the trees.

“Everytime na may parating na bagyo, nagpupruning kami ng mga puno para hindi mabuwal ng malakas na hangin,” he said.

Senior Ecosystems Management Specialist Luz Soriano of Community Environment and Natural Resources Office in Cabagan advised the beneficiaries to plant high value agricultural crops to generate additional income. She also encouraged them to double their effort in protecting the plantation since it serves as a mini sanctuary to migratory birds.#

 
RESBAKUNA. Over 500 employees of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in Region 2 have recently received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine under the Resbakuna Program of the Department of Health.
 
Employees in government agencies and instrumentalities are eligible for vaccination under priority group A4 pursuant to Resolution No. 117 of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases.
 
In support of the government’s efforts to contain the spread of the virus, Regional Executive Director Gwendolyn Bambalan has encouraged all DENR employees to avail of the vaccination program.
 
Per report of the human resource development section, about 170 employees of the regional and field offices are now fully vaccinated.#
 
 
REAPING GAINS OF GREENING PROGRAM. “Pastulan at sagingan lang ito dati. Pero dahil sa NGP, gumanda na. Unti-unting bumabalik ang kagubatan at natutulungan pa kami sa aming pinansiyal na pangangailangan. At higit sa lahat, maganda itong panlaban sa climate change.”
 
This was the message of Betty Naongan from Bautista, San Agustin, Isabela. She is one of the members of Ayangan Dapiz Agroforestry Development Association (ADAFDA) which was awarded with 130 hectares plantation site under the National Greening Program (NGP) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
 
Naongan also said the environmental condition in the area has improved where they now enjoy fresher and cooler air. Occurrence of soil erosion has decreased and birds are visiting the area during their nesting period.
 
More than 123,000 seedlings of Gmelina, Guyabano and Cacao were planted in the area in 2018.
 
The members practice intercropping of high value agricultural crops to generate additional income while waiting for the trees to bear fruits.
 
According to For. Frederick John Lopez, NGP coordinator of Community Environment and Natural Resources Office in San Isidro, the people’s organization has a total of 81 beneficiaries under 15 letters of agreement.#
 
GREENING AS A FAMILY. Eduardo Pascua, his wife and four children are now reaping a great bounty as each of them maintains an area of their 24-hectare National Greening Program (NGP) plantation at Sitio Gattac, Darubba in Quezon, Nueva Vizcaya.
 
Inspired from the success that Integrated Social Forestry has brought them more than two decades ago, Pascua family adopted NGP areas in 2014 that are now covered with Narra, Gmelina, and other forest and fruit-bearing trees.
 
"Hindi po namin maitataguyod ang pag-aaral ng mga anak namin kung hindi dahil sa kasipagan ng pagtatanim ng asawa ko. Ngayon, lahat na po kami ay nagtatanim," said Linda.
 
She also expressed her pride as they now have one police officer and two mechanics in the family.
 
With the greening program, the whole community now enjoy cooler air and overflowing water.
 
"Marami na po kasing puno ngayon na humahawak ng tubig, di tulad noon na diretso ang tubig sa ilog kapag maulan," said Eduardo as he recalled the often occurence of soil erosion when their plantation was still barren.
 
From the record of the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Sub-Office in Nueva Vizcaya, more residents in Brgy. Darubba have adopted NGP sites and are now growing trees for environmental protection and livelihood.#