People’s Organizations confab held in Zambales

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THE DEPARTMENT of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) convened officers and members of 80 people’s organizations to tackle issues on seedling production, plantation establishment, and protection and maintenance to strengthen the implementation of the National Greening Program (NGP) in the province.

Director Francisco Milla, Jr. of the regional DENR in Central Luzon said that more than 400,000 assorted seedlings have already been planted in about 1,000 ha of denuded forests throughout Zambales since Pres. Benigno Aquino III launched the NGP in 2011.

This year, the province shall reforest close to 5,000 ha, to include agroforestry development and riverbank stabilization, he said.

NGP has reforested a total of 683,481 ha throughout the country, including mangrove and protected areas, ancestral domains, civil and military reservations, urban areas, abandoned mine sites and other suitable lands.

Close to 398 million seedlings were planted in these areas, in partnership with other government agencies and the private sector, including non-government and civil society organizations, socio-civic and faith-based groups, and the business sector.

As this developed, the DENR appealed for greater cooperation between and among DENR implementers and their PO counterparts, adding that individual commitments are necessary to carry the program through 2016.

“We need to learn from our past mistakes and work closely with each other to accomplish our targets for the year,” Forester Edward Sernadilla said addressing the DENR and PO officials and members present during the plenary.

Separate sessions were devoted to discussing topics on financial transaction, accounting, and record keeping, facilitated by representatives from the Regional Commission on Audit (COA).

Issues on benefit-sharing agreements, criteria in the selection of member-recipient and creation of a procurement committee, internal monitoring, validation, and creation of project activity documentation teams were also discussed in the congress.

NGP aims to plant 1.5 billion trees in 1.5 million hectares of denuded forests in six years beginning 2011 to reduce poverty, promote food security, conserve biodiversity, and promote climate change mitigation and adaptation.