COA flags DENR over failed National Greening Program
Marje Pelayo • January 8, 2020 • 868
MANILA, Philippines – The government’s National Greening Program launched by the Aquino Administration in 2011 is a five-year project which aimed at planting 1.5 billion trees in 1.5 million hectares of forest land in the country.
However, based on the findings of the Commission on Audit (COA) in December 2019, only 12% of the target area has been planted up to this date.
Based on COA’s assessment, there was a problem with the former administration’s strategy and planning as the number of personnel was smaller as compared to the scope of the job.
Most trees ended up dying due to lack of care.
Some may have survived but they are among trees fit for agroforestry such as cacao.
“Ang pinakamalaking problema talaga is maraming hindi nag survive. Bakit hindi nag survive? Iyong wrong timing of planting, tapos wrong species and at the same time, of course, ang climate change (The biggest problem really was many didn’t survive. Why? Due to wrong timing and wrong species. At the same time, climate change),” the official explained.
At present, COA said, only about 7M hectares remain as forest land in the country which is only about 41.5% as compared to the scope of forest lands in 1934.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) said there is no use blaming the former administration for what happened to the program.
Environment Undersecretary Benny Antiporda said they are now working on ways to accomplish the program’s target.
“Magkakaroon ng impounding area for water and soil para lang sa pangangailangan nitong NGP natin, (We will establish impounding area for water and soil as required by the NGP,)” he said.
“This are the preparations na hindi nila nakita noon, (which they failed to note in the past,)” he added.
COA explained in its report that indeed immediate action is necessary to accomplish the program but it careful planning is also important.
The DENR agrees and is planning to reach out and seek the help of the communities in the target areas.
“Ngayon community based tayo. Itong community na ito kung ilang ektarya ang kaya niya, doon tayo. Hindi sapilitan ang gagawin, (We will do community based approach. We will determine how many hectares a community can accomplish planting. It will not be mandatory,)” Antiporda explained.
The officials said they are prioritizing bamboo for the initial phase of the tree planting as it easily grows and has variety of use.
COA recommends the use of drones to accurately identify the target areas for tree planting. MNP (with details from Rey Pelayo)
There is a lack of coordination from the local officials of Cebu City which led to the discrepancy in reporting coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases in the area, according to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Roy Cimatu.
DENR Usec. Benny Antiporda said this is one of the issues Cimatu wants to resolve in Cebu City.
“You can see the situation in Cebu, walang coordination. Walang buong pagkilos mula sa barangay level to the local government units to the provincial government. Hindi buo (You can see the situation in Cebu, there is no coordination. No action from the barangay level to the local government units, up to the provincial government. It is not organized),” he said.
Cimatu will meet with officials from the barangay level to determine the problem in the COVID-19 response.
The Environment Secretary will submit a recommendation to the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) regarding possible measures to ease the surge of COVID-19 cases.
President Rodrigo Duterte has directed Cimatu to fix the situation in Cebu City amid the surge of COVID-19 cases in the province.
Cimatu said all records should match in order to implement a better COVID-19 response. —AAC(with reports from Vincent Arboleda)
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has seized 20 kilos or P3.2 million worth of agarwood in two separate operations.
DENR’s Environmental Protection and Enforcement Task Force (EPETF) and the NBI-Environmental Crime Division conducted operations in Pasig City and Cainta, Rizal last June 8.
Four suspects, identified as Ramil Ong, Bernie Bagay, Rizal Mofar, and Arjhun Gaviola, were arrested for the illegal transportation of the said high-value tree species.
“This clearly sends out the message that the government’s campaign against environmental offenders remains unrelenting despite a pandemic that is wreaking havoc worldwide,” Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu said.
The four suspects were charged with violations of Republic Act 9147 or the Wildlife Resources and Protection Act. They are detained at the NBI detention facility in Manila.
Agarwood is one of the most expensive raw materials used in perfumery, costing at least P160,000 per kilo in the Philippines.
It is extracted from host trees locally known as Lapnisan and Lanete, which are both included in the national list of threatened Philippine plants. —AAC
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) region 4A has opened an online photo contest for individuals who have their own garden at home or are planning to have one.
In celebration of Philippine Environment Month this June, the DENR-4A invites everyone to plant and grow their own seedlings at home and take a photo of it daily from day 1.
“As we celebrate Philippine Environment Month this June 2020, EMBR4A invites you to join “LET IT GROW” Online Photo Contest and help heal nature as one by planting and growing your own seedlings at home,” DENR-4A said.
The contest champion will receive P10,000, the second place will receive P8,000 while the third placer will receive P6,000.
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