DENR, JICA open P23-M access road to boost livelihood, agroforestry in Nueva Ecija

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) here and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) recently opened a 3.7-km access road in Conversion village in Pantabangan, Nueva Ecija that will ease in the transportation of products of upland farmers coming from their agroforestry farm and help increase economic productivity, environment official said.

Paquito Moreno, Jr., executive director of the DENR in Central Luzon, said the P23-million worth access road was funded by JICA as an “agroforestry support facility” in the 10-year Forestland Management Project (FMP) in Pantabangan-Carranglan watershed, which will boost the livelihood of some 350 upland farmers and their families managing about 14,000 hectares of agroforestry and forest plantations.

“Our upland farmers can now easily bring their products like mango, cashew, cacao and coffee to the nearby market in the town using this access road. This will serve as a channel to increase local trade and productivity, since it connects farm areas to market towns,” he explained.

He said transportation cost will be reduced and post-harvest losses of local farmers will also be minimized, since the newly newly-opened access road will ensure easier access to social services such as health and education.

Citing the significance of forging alliance towards community welfare, Moreno thanked the JICA for supporting the project aimed at the development, conservation, protection and sustainable use of forest resources.

For his part, Yo Ebisawa, JICA senior representative, said the access road will help local community and their partner people's organization to fast track the reforestation of some denuded portions of the watershed.

“This project is advantageous to our reforestation efforts in the watershed, since it will reduce the cost and travel time in hauling seedlings in the planting site," he said.

Launched in 2012, FMP is a 10-year reforestation project that aims to rehabilitate the Pantabangan-Caranglan watershed, one of the biggest protected areas in Central Luzon, and to strengthen the forestland management through the implementation of collaborative community-based forest management (CBFM) strategy.

FMP also integrates conservation and development-oriented activities with participation and capacity-building of local communities to rehabilitate degraded forestlands in three critical river basins, including Upper Magat and Cagayan in Region 2, Upper Pampanga in Region 3, and Jalaur in Iloilo.

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River cleanup project to ease flooding in Bulacan

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) here in partnership with the provincial government of Bulacan and the local government of Malolos City launched recently the Bulacan River System Cleanup Project in an effort to protect communities from flooding as the onset of southwest monsoon or “habagat” takes place and in support of the cleanup and rehabilitation of the historic Manila Bay.

Paquito Moreno, executive director of the DENR in Central Luzon, said the province-wide project will administer dredging activities in the major river systems and other tributaries in Bulacan.

"Dredging creeks is imperative to sustain the cleanup and rehabilitation efforts of Manila Bay. And through this, we can remove solid wastes at pinch point areas, and allow water to flow freely," he explained.

He said project will start in the 4.6-km Apulid creek in Longos village in Malolos where heavy siltation was observed.  

Apulid creek is one of the water tributaries in Malolos which is directly connected to the larger Sto. Niño River, a major river system that drains directly to Manila Bay.

The project will also reduce the risk of flooding in the province especially during habagat season since dredging allows the creeks and rivers to carry larger volume of water, Moreno added.

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