COLLABORATING WITH THE GRASSROOTS. "Nagpapasalamat po kami dahil kahit malayo po kami, nag effort po kayong puntahan kami. First time po na may RED na bumisita dito sa amin," says Erlindo L. Pudiquet, president of Palabotan Agroforest Development Association Inc. (PADAI).
With 179 members, PADAI is one of the community-based people's organizations engaged in the Forestland Management Project (FMP) implemented by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in Nueva Vizcaya.
During their first interaction with Regional Executive Director Gwendolyn C. Bambalan, Pudiquet expressed his appreciation to the DENR for the assistance provided to them through the FMP. "Nagpapasalamat po kami dahil karamihan po sa members namin ay farmers at may pamilya. Bukod sa economic opportunities, marami po kaming natutunan sa FMP para sa pangangalaga sa ating kagubatan," he said.
Director Bambalan expressed elation as she explained that the goals of the FMP is not only to reforest but also to uplift the socio-economic conditions of the upland communities.
"Please use the resources provided to you efficiently and effectively. Palaguin ninyo ang pondong naitulong sa inyo ng gobyerno dahil para rin po ito sa inyo," Director Bambalan emphasized.
Dupax del Sur Mayor Ruben S. Basconcillo Jr. who joined RED Bambalan in the visit also thanked the DENR for the numerous projects implemented by the Department in their municipality.
Through the FMP, the association was awarded a total of 428 hectares to be developed into agroforestry and fuelwood plantations. The area is within the Benay subwatershed in Dupax del Sur.
Members of PADAI were also provided with start-up capital which they now use in organic fertilizer production and trading as alternative livelihood.
The project also funded agroforestry support facilities such as concrete access roads and irrigation pipelines to aid the economic activities not only of the members but also of the other residents in the community.#