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Reforestation of huge mangrove, beachfront forests
« on: April 25, 2015, 07:45:26 AM »
Reforestation of huge mangrove, beachfront forests in Bicol to involve coastal communities
By Danny O. Calleja

LEGAZPI CITY, April 22 (PNA) -- Bicolano coastal communities will be busy working on the reforestation of their beach fronts and mangrove areas this year and onward.

The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has recently announced its release of Php400 million in initial amount to finance this undertaking nationwide called the Mangrove and Beach Forest Development Project (MBFDP) that is part of the National Greening Program (NGP), a flagship environmental agenda item of the Aquino administration.

The release represents 40 percent of the total Php1-billion funding requirement of the project as recommended by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRMMC) which will be charged against the Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Program (RRP) under the Fiscal Year (FY) 2014 General Appropriations Act (GAA), according to the DBM.

Under this project, the national government — with the participation of concerned stakeholders from both local government units (LGUs) and the private sector or non-governmental organizations (NGOs)— will develop mangroves and beach forests in areas affected by typhoons and other disasters that hit several regions in the country.

Under RRP, all rehabilitation efforts are to be grounded on ensuring the safety of communities against natural disasters in the future, thus, comprehensive preparation and prevention are key elements in the policy of “build back better (BBB)”, which includes the reforestation of mangrove and beach forests on local coastlines.

Among the priority sites of the project are areas in the Visayas and Bicol affected by Typhoon "Yolanda"; communities in Zamboanga affected by siege and unrest; areas in Cebu and Bohol which were damaged by earthquakes; and areas in Mindanao badly hit by Typhoon "Pablo".

The estimated land area of 27,400 hectares covered by the project is broken down to 22,000 hectares of mangrove forests and 5,400 hectares of beach forests and the activities involved are site preparation, nursery development, mangrove and beach forest planting, maintenance, and protection.

The DBM said that since the Php400 million was an initial release, subsequent releases of the remaining fund would require the DENR to submit requirements, including identified sites for target planting activities and actual planting activities supported by with geo-tagged photos—to the DBM.

Budget Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad, in announcing the release, said, “Our country’s natural resources not only shower us with abundant riches but also provide us with a natural defense against typhoons and storms.”

Hence, proper management of resources is part of the Aquino administration’s strategy in climate change mitigation to safeguard our countrymen against future calamities, he stressed.

Under the FY 2015 GAA, the national government allotted a budget of Php21.7 billion to implement BBB strategy that integrates a preventive approach with efforts that focus on climate change adaptation and mitigation and disaster risk reduction management actions and interventions, Abad added.

DENR Bicol Regional Director Gilbert Gonzales on Wednesday said that with the region getting as much as Php135 million for the rehabilitation under MBFDP, a total of over 7,100 hectares of beaches scattered through the region's six provinces, NGOs and other community-based organizations would be tapped into its implementation.

The areas of implementation insofar as Bicol is concerned involve 1,000 hectares in Camarines Norte; Camarines Sur, 1,100 hectares; Masbate, 2,130 hectares; Albay; 1,000 hectares; Catanduanes, 700 hectares; and Sorsogon, 314 hectares.

The DENR’s regional Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau (ERDB) has been tasked as overall coordinator of the project while its implementation is assigned to the respective Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Offices (PENROs) of each province in cooperation with local government units (LGUs) and support of other line agencies, Gonzales said.

So far, he said, DENR-Bicol already has its composite action team composed of its personnel who would conduct site assessment, validation and mapping, and determine the sources of planting materials to be used.

Site preparations, production of planting materials, planting, maintenance, protection and other activities will be delegated to barangays or communities through duly registered people’s organizations — meaning the actual implementation works would make people in the barangays occupied by these activities, he said.

Every activity is assigned with budget--with the seedling production getting 67 percent of the fund—that is why involvement in any of the activities of the project implementation will also provide these barangay folk extra earnings, the DENR regional chief added. (PNA)

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