The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has partnered with the reserve group of the Philippine Army for reforestation project in Cagayan Valley.
DENR Assistant Secretary Joan Lagunda, a reservist with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, signed on Friday the memorandum of partnership agreement (MOPA) with the Philippine Army Reserve Command (Arescom) represented by Maj. Gen. Fernando Felipe and Col. Wilfredo Adquilen Jr.
Regional Executive Director Gwendolyn Bambalan of DENR Region 2 was represented by Assistant Regional Director Marcos Dacanay.
The project covers a non-contiguous area of more or less 20 hectares existing forest plantation in every province in Region 2.
“The partnership intends to enrich the existing plantation or forest cover or to accelerate hasten the regeneration or regreening of denuded degraded forest land and cogonal areas and the protection of the same from any unauthorized interference,” the MOPA reads.
In her message, ASec Lagunda underscored the mission of the DENR to mobilize the citizenry in protecting, conserving, and managing the environment and natural resources. “Caring for the environment is not solely for DENR, but for all of us. It is a whole of nation approach,” she added.
As she thanked the DENR Region 2 for accepting the partnership, the national environment official highlighted the importance of collaborative governance emphasizing how she maximized the brigades and battalions of the National Capital Region in different environmental activities.
She ordered the field officials to monitor the progress of the project and conduct periodic evaluation or assessment of the plantations.
Commander Felipe meanwhile said the Army reserve group has earlier committed to support the DENR in the National Greening Program.
“As you can see, the vision of the reserve force is nation-building and economic development. We are focusing our efforts in environmental protection to bring back the beauty of our natural resources,” he said adding that taking care of the natural resources is one of the best forms of volunteerism and patriotism.
Under the partnership agreement, the 2nd Regional Community Defense Group-Arescom shall plant or replant seedlings of endemic species in areas to be identified by the DENR. It shall exert effort to result high survival rate of the newly planted species and must consider replacements only when so required.
The reserve force is also tasked to “treat the area and its immediate vicinities with special protection and care as well as the existing living species found thereat against any unauthorized interference.” It shall ensure that the area will be free from any unregulated activity and shall be maintained in its suitable condition to nurse the newly planted species.
The DENR, on the other hand, shall execute all prefatory activities and shall supply planting materials. It shall also provide the technical assistance and expertise in the entire implementation project.#