The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and two mining companies in Region 2 have mutually agreed to develop areas in support of the National Greening Program (NGP).
Regional Executive Director Gwendolyn C. Bambalan, and FCF Minerals represented by Leopoldo G. Castro Jr. and OceanaGold Philippines Incorporated represented by Jayson Magdaong recently signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) for the tree replacement program. The MOA signing was witnessed by Nueva Vizcaya PENR officer Edgar T. Martin, Quirino PENR officer Mariam Frances T. Malana and regional NGP coordinator Edmund S. Malupeng.
The tree replacement program forms part of the mining companies' compliance with the terms and conditions of the tree cutting permit issued by the DENR. Based on DENR regulations, the permittee is required to replace each tree cut affected by the mining operations with 100 seedlings of indigenous species.
It can be recalled that Director Bambalan recommended for area development scheme in support of the NGP rather than just producing, buying and donating seedlings to yield better impact.
“We engage a people’s organization or a community to develop and maintain the plantation not only to promote partnership, but also to create employment opportunities especially this time of pandemic," Director Bambalan said. "Eventually, it will be the local communities who will manage the plantation," she added.
To cover the replacement scheme from site assessment, seedling production, plantation establishment, and three-year maintenance and protection activities, the FCF and OGPI shall allocate funds in the amount of P6.4 million and P2.9 million, respectively. As stated in the MOA, the mining companies may transfer the full amount covering the cost of the entire duration of implementation or transfer the funds on annual budget requirement basis per approved work and financial plan.
A total of 192 hectares of plantations will be funded by the FCF and 90 hectares by the OGPI within the provinces of Nueva Vizcaya and Quirino. The sites which include NGP graduated areas with low survival rate and other suitable areas will be planted with timber and fruit trees.
The DENR is tasked to conduct survey, mapping and planning, and engage beneficiaries within the project sites for the actual implementation of program activities following the family approach in NGP. It shall provide technical assistance to the identified partners in seedling production, plantation establishment and protection and maintenance of the planted areas.
The tree replacement program will be implemented for three years starting in 2021.#