The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in Region 6 through its Forestland Management Project (FMP) under the Provincial ENR Office – Iloilo led the turn-over ceremony of the six (6) Agroforestry Support Facilities (ASF) with a total funding of more than Php 97-M on February 23, 2023, namely: the Quipot Reinforced Concrete Deck Girdle (RCDG) Bridge (Php 37-M), Atimonan Hanging Bridge (Php 5-M), Barasalon Hanging Bridge Unit 2 (Php 6-M), Aglobong Irrigation Pipeline System (Php 17-M), Barasalon Hanging Bridge Unit 1 (Php 11-M), and Quipot-Barasalon Pathway Phase 1 (Php 18-M).

ASF is one of the components of the Forestland Management Project which started its implementation in 2012 and the municipality of Janiuay got the lion’s share as fifteen (15) of the ASF are distributed among its upland barangays. The rest are in the municipalities of Calinog and Lambunao.

DENR 6 Regional Executive Director Livino B. Duran hopes that the stakeholders and the project beneficiaries will continue to maintain what the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and ther Department has provided for them.

“The DENR hopes that you will take good care our projects because this will be the start also of the preparation of other projects. Meaning, we will not end here but this is the start of our development and this generations of younger officials will now continue what we have started. We do hope this will be taken care of, as well as the other investments we have in our upland areas,” RED Duran said.

 “Since the start of the FMP in year 2012, we have seen a lot on changes in this area, [Janiuay] with the help of our partners, especially the Japan International Cooperative Agency (JICA) and the Philippine Government,” said Assistant Regional Director for Technical Services Raul L. Lorilla said as he gave a brief background of the FMPs completed ASF projects.

Municipality of Janiuay Vice Mayor Corel Hannah Locsin welcomed the partners and other stakeholders in the turn-over ceremony. Locsin expressed her gratitude to those who help them made their “dream” become a reality.

“The potential of our forestlands lies with the bridges and the roads that connect our upland folkse to the Poblacion. This, in turn, could connect tourists to the mountains, and that connect all of us. During our time, we have walked kilometers, we have walked it with our feet. Now we can ride motorcycles to get to our tourist destinations. The potential of our people in earning more livelihood from tourism will become a reality, it is not a dream anymore,” Vice Mayor Locsin said.

Furthermore, JICA Senior Representative Mr. Ide Sochiro emphasized the importance of the facilities in improving the access to the forest plantations. “These facilities are important in improving access to the newly established forest plantations and in achieving FMP’s objectives of increasing the country’s forest cover and improving forest conservation and socio-economic situation in upland areas. This project started in 2012 in partnership with the DENR, for the past 10 years we have achieved important milestones,” Sochiro said.

Meanwhile, the PO Presidents also gave their acceptance messages as they will now be responsible for the management and maintenance of the turned-over infrastructures, together with the LGU Janiuay.

The turn-over ceremony was conducted at Brgy. Quipot, Janiuay, Iloilo and was graced by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Senior Representative Mr. Ide Soichiro and JICA Senior Program Office Mr. Kessy Reyes, DENR 6 Regional Executive Director Livino B. Duran, ARD for Technical Services Raul L. Lorilla, ARD for Special Concerns Ivene D. Reyes, Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor, Jr., 3rd District Representative Hon. Lorenz R. Defensor, Janiuay Municipal Vice Mayor Corel Hannah Locsin, Forest Management Bureau (FMB) OIC, Assistant Director For. Edna D. Nuestro, and FMP Project Manager For. Marlon Atienza.

Also in attendance were Forester Antonio Latoza, Jr., People’s Organization (POs) beneficiaries, FMP Focal Person, members of Janiuay SB Council, and DENR 6 personnel from the regional office and the FMP team.