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In a bid to conserve native plant species in Region 2, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) recently signed a pact with a mining firm for the establishment of an arboretum in Nueva Vizcaya province.
 
The memorandum of agreement was signed by DENR Regional Executive Director Gwendolyn Bambalan and FCF Minerals Country Manager James Carmichael in the presence of Mines and Geosciences Bureau Regional Director Mario Ancheta, Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer Edgar Martin, Community Environment and Natural Resources (CENR) Officer Giovannie Magat, and Leopoldo Castro Jr. of FCF Minerals.
 
The FCF Minerals Corporation, a British-owned firm operating the Runruno Gold-Molybdenum Project in Quezon town, will provide 300,000 pesos per year for the establishment, protection and maintenance of the arboretum for five years.
It shall conduct monitoring activities and attend meetings to assess the development of the arboretum.
 
For its part, the DENR shall be responsible in the site preparation, planting and maintenance and protection of the arboretum
The three-hectare provincial arboretum houses endemic and indigenous forest tree species such as Narra, Dao, Yakal, Molave, Kamagong, Kalumpit, Anilau, Panglomboien, Tuai and Philippine Teak.
 
Established at the Ecological Park and Training Center at CENR office in Aritao, the arboretum will serve as source of quality planting materials, an ecotourism site and educational laboratory.
 
The Forest Management Bureau has earlier directed the establishment of arboretum to enhance the implementation of the National Greening Program by planting endemic trees that best thrive in the region, province or municipality.#
 
The Beta Sigma Fraternity inked today a partnership agreement with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Region 2 for the adoption of reforestation sites to highlight the fraternity’s diamond year celebration.
 
The signing of the memorandum of agreement (MOA) is part of the fraternity’s “Alay ng Kapatiran sa Inang Kalikasan,” a national tree planting and nurturing project launched in July 2012 in support of the National Greening Program (NGP). The project is simultaneously undertaken by all chapters and assemblies in the Philippines.
 
The Betans in Cagayan Valley will rehabilitate, protect and maintain the 71-hectare plantation sites located in Alcala and Aparri in Cagayan, Quirino town in Isabela, Aritao and Bagabag in Nueva Vizcaya, and Diffun and Nagtipunan in Quirino province.
 
In her message during the virtual MOA signing, DENR Regional Executive Director Gwendolyn Bambalan thanked the Beta Sigma for helping the government in promoting forest conservation and development.
 
“We in the DENR is really looking for partners to help us in our efforts in the greening activities. Napakaluwang po ng areas ng Region 2 and if we just rely primarily from government funds, mahirapan tayo," the regional environment chief said.
She pinned her hopes that the initiative will be sustained by the two parties.
 
Representing the national assembly, Sr. Adviser on Research and Planning and Chair, Political Affairs Col. Edgar Taccad committed to deliver their obligations as stated in the agreement.
 
“We will be doing our best in support of your advocacy and in support of the advocacy of Secretary Roy Cimatu,” he said.
Under the agreement, the Beta Sigma shall allocate funds; conduct patrol works, replanting, ring weeding and strip brushing, and establish fire breaks, among others.
 
"Upon reaching the 85% survival or above, the area will be turned over to the First Party for the issuance of appropriate tenure instrument for the sustainable management of the area,” the MOA reads.
 
For its part, the DENR shall provide technical assistance in the maintenance, rehabilitation and protection of the areas including provision of planting materials for replanting. It shall monitor the development and progress of the tree growing activity.
 
The agency shall also allocate additional area for tree planting site upon determination that the Beta Sigma Fraternity has successfully managed, maintained and protected the area.
 
The MOA was signed by Director Bambalan and the four assembly presidents, namely; Hector C. Sumabat for Cagayan, Nestor De Villa for Isabela, Wilfredo B. Dacuycuy for Nueva Vizcaya, and Cesar F. Tolenada of Quirino in the presence of Col. Taccad and DENR regional and field officials.#
 
The national top officials of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) have commended the Cagayan Valley Region for the efforts in the rehabilitation of the Cagayan River.
 
In the opening program of the Regional Management Conference today, Undersecretary for Field Operations Juan Miguel Cuna, Undersecretary for Enforcement Benito de Leon, and Assistant Secretary for Field Operations-Luzon Gilbert Gonzales expressed their appreciation to DENR Region 2 in addressing the problem of flooding in Cagayan and Isabela provinces through close coordination with the Regional Build Back Better Task Force.
 
“With the objectives you have set to pioneer the Task Force Build Back Better activities in the Cagayan River Basin, it served as a template in other areas such as the Marikina River Basin and the Bicol River Basin,” USec. de Leon said.
 
For his part, USec. Cuna reminded the Region 2 key officials on the no-build zone policy and the easement recovery along Cagayan River and other rivers in the region. “We should not allow encroachment and building of structures within the easement area,” he ordered.
 
He also committed support to the anti-illegal logging program of the region. “The central office can now augment your anti-illegal logging efforts with the assistance of the Philippine National Police, Armed Forces of the Philippines and National Bureau of Investigation,” USec. Cuna said.
 
As he announced the renewal of OceanaGold’s Financial or Technical Assistance Agreement, the field operations chief ordered the regional directors of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB), and Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) to ensure compliance of the mining companies with environmental laws. “We have to prove that responsible mining is possible,” he added.
 
The three top executives also congratulated the regional and field offices for achieving notable results in the implementation of the priority programs despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
 
In her message, Regional Executive Director Gwendolyn Bambalan said the region has experienced challenging situations in carrying out the department’s mandate due to the pandemic. “We need to adapt to the present situation and regularly calibrate and recalibrate our strategies,” she said.
 
“While we need to ensure the protection and safety of all our personnel, we should not lose sight of physical and financial performance targets for the year and other requirements which we must comply,” the regional environment chief added.
The two-day management conference serves as an avenue for coaching, mentoring and evaluation of regional officials and key staff.
 
The regional physical and financial accomplishments of the DENR, EMB and MGB; activities under the Build Back Better initiatives; catch-up plans for the first semester and schedule of activities for the third quarter; and status of Forestland Management Project implementation will be presented in the conference.
 
Recent forestry and land-related policies will also be discussed by the Forest Management Bureau and Land Management Bureau.
 
The assistant regional directors, bureau regional directors, provincial environment and natural resources officers, community environment and natural resources officers, and division chiefs regionwide will also participate in the values restoration session.#
 
The Steering Committee for the Lower Magat Forest Reserve (LMFR) in Cagayan Valley has pushed for the renewal of the co-management agreement between the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the provincial government of Nueva Vizcaya.
 
In 1998, the DENR and the provincial government entered into a 25-year co-management agreement to jointly allocate, protect, develop, and manage the forest reserve. Amended in 2004, the memorandum of agreement (MOA) is valid until 2023 and renewable for another 25 years.
 
During its meeting on July 9, the Steering Committee (SC) unanimously recommended the renewal of the MOA and adopted the proposed amendment by the DENR.
 
The committee is chaired by Gov. Carlos Padilla and co-chaired by DENR Regional Executive Director Gwendoyn Bambalan.
 
Director Bambalan in her message thanked the provincial government for its efforts in conserving and protecting the area citing that the sustainability of partnership will generate higher level of success.
 
She recommended for the committee to work for the declaration of the Lower Magat Forest Reserve as a national park to preserve the biodiversity in the area.
 
In the proposed amendments presented by DENR Region 2 legal chief Richard Garan, the SC is tasked to review applications of occupants, if there be any, inside the Lower Magat Forest Reserve for the stewardship of any portion of the project area as indorsed by the Lower Magat Forest Management Office (LMFMO).
 
The LMFMO shall endorse to DENR through the SC the issuance of appropriate tenure instruments to people’s organizations and qualified private sector consistent with the approved management plan. It shall also ensure the maximum participation of tenure holders and indigenous peoples in the development and management of the forestlands and to ensure as well the protection of the rights in connection therewith, subject to DENR policies, rules and regulations.
 
“We would like the provisions enhanced considering that there are new developments and new policies that we must conform and comply to,” the DENR Region 2 top official said.
 
The LMFR is the downstream portion of the Magat Forest Reserve which was established in 1969 by virtue of Presidential Proclamation 573.
 
This 24,251-hectare forestland is located in the northernmost part of Nueva Vizcaya province covering the entire municipality of Diadi, and Barangays Baretbet and Villaros of Bagabag town.
 
Within the forest reserve are catchment areas or sub-watersheds that drain into the Magat River which is a major source of water for the Magat Dam in Ramon, Isabela. It supports irrigation, power generation and domestic water supply, among others.
 
The joint memorandum circular issued in 2003 by the DENR and the Department of the Interior and Local Government authorizes the DENR Undersecretary for Field Operations to enter into a MOA with local government units to co-manage a forest area of more than 15,000 ha up to 30,000 ha.#
 
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in Region 2 is almost done with the production of bamboos and other indigenous species for the green infrastructure of the Cagayan River.
 
In the national meeting of the Build Back Better (BBB) Task Force held on July 1, Cagayan Valley environment chief Gwendolyn Bambalan reported that a total of 126,224 bambo propagules have been produced which is 96 percent of the region’s target of 131,316.
 
These bamboo stocks composed of variety of species are being tended at the mechanized and modernized forest nursery in Solana town, at the regional clonal nursery in Tuguegarao City, and at the nurseries established by the community environment and natural resources offices in Cagayan province.
 
“Our employees from all over the region have also produced 171,452 bamboo and indigenous forest tree species as their personal commitment to the program,” Director Bambalan said.
 
She also reported that more or less 90 hectares were initially planted along riverbanks in Cagayan, Isabela, Quirino and Nueva Vizcaya.
 
Director Bambalan has earlier emphasized that this “green infrastructure” will complement the removal of sandbars along the heavily-silted Cagayan River. This will stabilize riverbanks and prevent further widening.
 
Immediately after the massive flooding in the provinces of Cagayan and Isabela brought about by Typhoon Ulysses in November last year, DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu who chairs the BBB task force ordered to prioritize the planting of bamboos on the banks of the Cagayan River to help prevent a repeat of the floods.
 
He also ordered all the DENR regional offices including the Cagayan Valley to ensure the availability of bamboo planting materials.
 
The region has assessed identified areas that are suitable for bamboo planting.
 
The 585 hectares for planting are located along the Cagayan River, Pared River, Zinundungan River, Dummon River, Abulug River, Pamplona River, Cabicungan River and Pinacanauan de Tuguegarao, all in the province of Cagayan.#