“The Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO) is determined to undertake aggressive tree planting in Ilocos Norte in compliance with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ (DENR) campaign against global warming and climate change.”This is the statement of PENR Officer Juan P. de los Reyes after DENR Secretary Ramon JP Paje has fully implemented President Benigno Aquino III’s Executive Order (EO) 26 otherwise known as a declaration of interdepartmental convergence initiative for a national greening program (NGP).
Under the EO, it mandated that the Department of Agriculture (DA), Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) and DENR shall converge to develop a National Greening Program in cooperation with the Department of Education (DepEd), Commission on Higher Education (CHED), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of Budget and Management (DBM), the private sectors and other concerned agencies and institutions.
“NGP’s objective is to enjoin every Filipino to plant some 1.5 billion trees covering about 1.5 million hectares for a period of six years from 2011 to 2016 in identified lands of public domain,” de los Reyes said, calling on all sectors of the community to support and share the basic social responsibility for the conservation and protection of the environment for the benefit and welfare of future generations.
According to PENRO Forest Management Section Chief Forester Victor Dabalos, the NGP area in Ilocos Norte has doubled from last year’s 1,350 hectares to this year’s 3, 903 hectares.
“Immediately after the implementation of the program, PENRO- Ilocos Norte planted 675, 000 seedlings of assorted forest and fruit tree species,” Dabalos said.
For this year’s target, PENRO Ilocos Norte has projected at least 1.4 million seedlings of different forest and fruit tree species to be planted covering 3, 903 hectares in different identified sites in the province.
“With the coordination of various people’s organization (POs), the LGUs, and with the continued partnership of the national government agencies (NGAs) based in the province, it is more likely that our target for this year is achievable.” PENRO de los Reyes said.
For 2012, there are 15 municipalities involved in the NGP program, namely Nueva Era, Marcos, Paoay, Dingras, Marcos, Carasi, Piddig, Banna, Batac, Solsona, Pagudpud, Adams, Burgos, Pasuquin, and Vintar which covers the largest area of the NGP with 1, 490 hectares.
The PENRO assured that the agency remains focused on the NGP through continuous planting activities of which a massive tree planting movement at the Paoay Lake National Park particularly in Brgys. Nangguyudan and Sungadan is scheduled on June 25 as a fitting celebration for this year’s Environment Month.
Meanwhile, PENRO announced recently that it has hired eleven forestry graduates as Extension Officers, all from the Mariano Marcos State University- Batac to augment its manpower for the effective implementation of the NGP.
Generally, the new hires are tasked to provide their skills, knowledge, and technical point of reference on reforestation, seedling propagation, community organization and other extension services in line with the NGP project.
The newly employed foresters will specifically provide technical assistance to the PO’s involved in the NGP; link the PO’s potential market of their products as possible sources of assistance; coach the PO’s in the areas of agro- forestry, watershed management, nursery development, plantation establishment, maintenance and protection.
“We initially employed four Environmental Science (EnviSci) graduates, however, the NGP program specifically requires Foresters or Agriculturists. Nevertheless, we accommodated the EnviSci graduate- employees to assist the PENRO in our various allied activities since they were already trained and has established professional working- relationship in the areas where they were previously assigned during their brief assignment in the NGP,” PENR Officer de los Reyes disclosed.
As of press time, the new hires have been assigned to their respective field of assignments within the province of Ilocos Norte. (PRESS RELEASE/June 5, 2012 PENRO- Ilocos Norte)