The DENR CENRO Boracay Island has a new officer in charge.
DENR Regional Executive Director Adeluisa G. Siapno, through DENR Regional Special Order No. 2013-270 dated July 16, 2013, has designated Atty. Elizur G. Militar to momentarily take the place of incumbent CENRO Boracay Island officer-in-charge Mirza Samillano.
Samillano is taking a leave of absence for “health reasons.”
The Order read: “In the interest of the service and to avoid any disruption in the operations of the CENRO Boracay Island…Atty. Elizur G. Militar, Project Evaluation Officer II, DENR Region 6, Iloilo City is hereby designated as Officer-in-Charge of CENRO Boracay Island, Malay Aklan.”
Militar is reporting to office today, July 22.
Where Eagles Fly
The Osman-San Dimas NGP Success Story
As the Strada climb higher and takes a turn to pass through the steep rolling hills of San Dimas on the way to Osman, the Brahminy kite (Haliastur indus) eagle circled high above. With its wide wings spread open, it looked like it’s surveying the mountains. What a welcome sight!
San Dimas and Osman are the last two mountain barangays of the municipality of Malinao in the western part of the Aklan province. Both are located in the uplands that are quite secluded from the rest. With more than a hundred households living closely together, everyone almost knows each other.
At the boundary stop that connects San Dimas to Osman, one would truly enjoy the green mountains that evoke serenity and freshness.
In 2011, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources in Region 6 introduced the objectives of the National Greening Program (NGP) to the people in barangays Osman and San Dimas.
When the DENR Region 6 contracted out a 50-hectare area for NGP to the Osman-San Dimas Producers Cooperative (OSPC) in 2011, the hardest part is starting the project. There were lots of rumors and misconceptions about the impact of the project to the community.
“Breaking in, so to speak, is the hardest part. People here have thought that the project is the government’s way of taking the land from us,” relates Nestor Tacud, President of OSPC. Nestor conducted series of meetings among the eager members of the Cooperative and thoroughly explained the objectives and goals of the NGP. After bravely facing all sort of threats, Nestor said he strategize to enlist as members those who opposed the project.
Asked how long it took to pacify them, he answered: “It took two years of resistance before they begin trusting us. Back then, I even received death threats but when they saw the benefits we’ve had from the project, they stopped resisting” Nestor adds, speaking in Akeanon dialect.
Today, the 61-strong members of OSPC included former opposers who are active in the activities of the Cooperative. “Now they are more than willing to die for me,” Nestor laughs.
The 2011 NGP Plantation
Aside from crossing a stream three times, the climb to the project site was steep, always going higher. The project site is situated at an elevation ranging from 100 to 200 meters above sea level (masl) and was planted with forest and fruit trees.
Under the project category of Community-Based Forest Management (CBFM)-Upland, the OSPC was contracted by the DENR 6 to plant 25,000 seedlings of forest and fruit trees namely: Mahogany, Rambutan, Lansones and Jackfruit in a 50-hectare upland area.
In its initial planting activity, the OSPC members were helped out by other sectors including employees from the local government unit of Malinao, PNP, SSS and students of Malinao School of Philippine Craftsmen. Three years after planting the seedlings, the plantation achieved a 92% survival rate. It was not easy achieving such a survival rate though. With such a steep slope, the upland area is not readily accessible. Members of the OSPC had to clear out tall grasses along the way to create a path so that volunteers or the planters can get to the site. The planted seedlings had to rely on rain to be watered, too.
“Some of the initial seedlings died especially those that were planted by the students. They would bury the seedling with the plastic on, others did not bother to cover it with soil,” relates Nicky, an OSPC member and son of Osman village chief. They found these out a month after they return to the site and checked on each seedling.
“We replanted those seedlings that withered and died out, and some of the replanted seedlings had even grown taller than the first ones,” Nicky happily said. The replanted seedlings namely, Narra, Mahogany and Badlan are now tall and strong. OSPC members tirelessly do the monitoring twice a month to check on the progress of the seedlings. It takes a lot of muscle work to sustain the monitoring activities but it was a responsibility the OSPC members willingly do. They know their return of investment is worth all the effort.
Trees standing ten feet and higher have grown sturdy, a manifestation of how they were taken cared of through the years. It may take a few more years for them to grow bigger trunks and branches and definitely, fruits too. The harvest time will soon be near for the beneficiaries of these plantation.
The NGP implementation did not only reforest the upland areas in Osman and San Dimas, Malinao. Consequently, it had changed the lives of poor farmers in this part of the country.
Before NGP, farmers here mainly rely on copra, abaca, root crops and habal-habal (motorcycle) for their livelihood. It was the NGP that provided them an economic boost. “We can barely provide for the children’s academic needs before. Through the financial assistance from NGP, we have earned more than just providing for the family. We were able to buy some appliances and even motorcycles,” Nestor disclosed.
Houses once made of nipa roof are now built with galvanized iron roof. There are sound systems, too. All these they have acquired through NGP earnings. Funny how in the late afternoon, one could hear different music genre in different areas within Osman alone. By the late afternoon, one could hear the music in the air. “Music makes us happy and we have dreamed of these for so long. We are thankful to DENR and to NGP in giving us all these,” Nestor gladly said.
Backyard seedlings nursery is also a practice among the members of OSPC. “We have made it a practice to raise seedlings so that anytime there is a need for us to plant, we have a ready stock,” said Nestor. In fact, the OSPC is now able to supply the indigenous seedlings demand of other Peoples Organizations within Aklan province who are also into tree planting activity. Thanks to NGP, they have thought of this and eventually earn from their sales of seedlings.
Improved house of an OSPC member compared to a humble abode of a non-member in Osman village. OSPC members religiously maintain their backyard nurseries, even involving children in the family.
In harmony with nature
Folks in Brgy. Osman and Brgy. San Dimas are living in harmony with nature. Surrounded by green mountains, one can still breathe in fresh, clean air and drink clean water here.
Across the 2011 NGP plantation site is the 2014 NGP site where, according to Nicky, the Brahminy kite eagles have their nests. The mountain peak at which they call home is surrounded by thick forests where they are left undisturbed.
“Dikato banda may pugad it Banog,” (“There on that side, the Brahminy kite eagle had its nest”) said Nicky in Akeanon. He said he would sometimes see the eagles fly in three or four, circling above the mountains. Yes, it’s a place where eagles fly!
Not only are the eagles made alive though. NGP beneficiaries here are more than glad they can live in harmony with nature with more meaning and purpose.
Secretary Ramon Paje's Letter to CO-workers
The latest Social Weather Stations survey on the Net Satisfaction with National Administration showed that a good majority of the Filipino people are satisfied with the government's performance in environmental protection. According to the second quarter survey, 65% of the people .... >>more