Men and children works together in preparing soil media for potting (left) and help raise seedlings (right) in Culasi, Antique.
The expanded National Greening Program (eNGP) which will run the course of another twelve (12) years (2017-2028) put the Environment Department abuzz with activities this year.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in Region 6 target to plant 13,194,618 seedlings of different species throughout the region to cover a total area of 11,815 hectares.
An initial funding of more than Php300-M is expected to fund the next phase of the reforestation program which, by virtue of Executive Order 193, expands the program coverage to include the reforestation of “all remaining unproductive, denuded, and degraded forestlands.”
“We have been consistently working with our field personnel in the implementation of the eNGP. Through the eNGP, not only do we want to attain climate resiliency or ecological balance. We also want to see the improvement of the economic lives of our people in the uplands and coastal areas, and that everybody benefits in the long run,” said Regional Director Jim O Sampulna.
New plantations are up for development under the 2017 eNGP implementation which shall include three (3) activities, namely: 1. Seedling production; 2. Site preparation and planting; and, 3. First year maintenance and protection. On the other hand, project beneficiaries for the 2015 and 2016 NGP sites will continue with their maintenance and protection activities. The maintenance and protection activities continue for three years after the plantation has been established. Moreover, the eNGP aims to generate 13,063 jobs region-wide.
In 2016, the DENR 6 has planted a total of 15,225,032 seedlings in a span of 8,977 hectares of various NGP areas in the four provinces of Western Visayas namely, Aklan, Antique, Capiz and Iloilo. The seedlings were raised by the different People’s Organizations (POs) from January to June 2016 with contribution from the State Universities and Colleges (SUCs).
DENR Secretary Regina Lopez has repeatedly expressed her desire to help the poor beneficiaries of the Department in upland and coastal areas. She is working hard to implement the Sustainable Integrated Area Development (SIAD) concept for the eNGP and other major projects of the Department which is comprehensive and can thereby help in alleviating poverty.
“I really feel that the DENR is in a position to alleviate poverty in the country,” she said. Her marching order to all DENR employees is to see to it that people benefit from their own natural resources. “Your job is to improve the lives of people,” she stressed.
Wetlands, our defense against the dark days
A remaining wetland within the commercial area in Mandurriao district still hosts a variety of waterbirds such as common sand pipers, little ringed plovers, herons, terns, etc. (photos from ebonph.wordpress.com)
Wetlands are very important to human survival.
Wetlands are among the most productive ecosystems in the world. Thus, the destruction of wetlands is very alarming.
On February 2, 2017, one hundred sixty nine (169) parties from all over the world will be celebrating the annual World Wetlands Day with the theme “Wetlands for Disaster Risk Reduction.” This is in commemoration of the adoption of the Convention on Wetlands or Ramsar Convention on February 2, 1971 in Ramsar City, Iran on the shores of Caspian Sea.
World Wetlands Day’s main purpose is to raise the people’s awareness of the values and benefits that wetlands can give to humanity. This observance also promotes the conservation and wise use of wetlands internationally. Above all, wetlands are our natural defense against disasters.
Wetlands are very essential in our environment. They control soil erosion, flood, ground water recharge and discharge, serve as kidneys to other ecosystems, habitats to rare species, tourist spots and can be a source of income. Wetlands aid in helping provide communities quick recovery against floods caused by storms, tsunamis and storm surges. Wetlands protect and improve water quality, store floodwater and maintain surface water flow during droughts.
The top five wetlands that help us lessen the impact of extreme weather events are Mangroves, Coral Reefs, Rivers and Flood Plains, Inland Deltas and Peatlands.
Presidential Proclamation No. 74 series of 1999 lets the Filipinos take part in the annual World Wetlands Day.
At the moment, the Philippines has seven (7) Ramsar sites, namely: Las Piñas-Parañaque Critical Habitat & Eco-Tourism Area (Manila), Naujan Lake National Park (Oriental Mindoro), Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park (Sulu Sea), Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park (Palawan), Negros Occidental Coastal Wetlands Conservation Area (Negros Occidental), Olango Island Wildlife Sanctuary (Cebu) and Agusan Marsh Wildlife Sanctuary (Agusan Del Sur).
In celebrating the World Wetlands Day 2017, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources Region (DENR) in Region VI will be conducting the wetland clean-up and forum at Brgy. Gabuc, Pontevedra, Capiz to raise awareness and encourage local community involvement. The chosen site of the activity is being considered for possible application as wetland of international importance or Ramsar site.
World Wetlands Day is a chance given to us each year to be aware of how much our wetlands can do for us, of how much will be lost from us if we lose them.