DENR-ARMM to plant 1 million trees in Maguindanao

The Mindanao Examiner Regional Newspaper - - News -

MAGUINDANAO - The Department of Environment and Natural Resources of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (DENRARMM) will plant one million trees in the province of Maguindanao this year.

Kahal Kedtag, DENRARMM Secretary, said the objective of this project is to reduce the effects of climate change in the region, starting with Maguindanao. “Ang ginagawa natin dito ay ang pagsulong at pagtulong sa climate change mitigation (Our objective is to help in climate change mitigation),” Sec. Kedtag underscored.

The seedlings available for the project, he said, can reforest up to 50,000 hectares of land. The reforestation is in line with the National Greening Program.

The watersheds in Dimapatoy, South Upi and Kabulnan – all in the province of Maguindanao – are the priority areas to be planted with the seedlings. The region – composed of the mainland provinces of Maguindanao and Lanao del Sur and the island provinces of Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi – has a total of 585,000 hectares of forest land.

ARMM Governor Mujiv Hataman has implemented a total log ban in the region through Executive Order 001 issued in December 2011. The order prohibits the cutting of trees in the provinces of Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi.

ARMM now has 301,000 hectares of forest cover, an increase of 6.7% compared with the 282,640 hectares in 2003 after a “precise geomapping, tagging and monitoring.”

The regional Environment department has commissioned the local community, mostly of Teduray ethnicity, in Datu Odin Sinsuat town to raise the seedlings at the department’s central nursery at Sitio Lomboy, Brgy. Awang.

More than 400 residents, joined in the bagging of the seedlings, and availed themselves of jobs under the cash-for-work program of DENR-ARMM. Over 200 of the participants are members of the LoPaSiNaKa (Sitio Lomboy, Pagapulan, Siawan and Nabilan) People’s Organization.

One of the beneficiaries is 24-year old Regie Agustin who has a child and needs to make both ends meet since he earns only P100 a day as a driver of ‘habal-habal’, a motorcycle that ferries passengers to remote villages.

“Dati akong habalhabal driver, P100 lang kinikita ko sa isang araw at nahihirapang tustusan ang gastusin sa bahay. Ngayon kahit papano nakatutulong na ako sa panggastos sa bahay (I used to be a ‘habalhabal’ driver earning P100 daily, which is not enough to support the needs of my family. At least, I now contribute more to the family’s expenses),” said Agustin who now earns as much as P500 a day from bagging seedlings.

“Noong nakapagtrabaho ako dito sa LoPaSiNaKa, nagkakapera po ako ng sapat. Kontra nung driver ako ng habalhabal, tama lang po ang aking kinikita. Minsan may naiuuwi sa pamilya, minsan wala, tama lang sa gasoline (When I started working with LoPaSiNaKa, I was able to earn enough. When I was a ‘habal-habal’ driver, there were days my earnings would only be enough to buy gasoline, no money to bring home to my family).”

“Nagpapasalamat nga po ako kay Sec. Kedtag dahil yung project na ito ay dito niya inilunssad sa aming lugar. Nakatulong yung trabaho hindi lang sa akin kundi sa aming mga tagaLomboy (I want to thank Sec. Kedtag for launching this project here. It is a big help not only for me but for other residents of Lomboy as well),” Agustin added.

Mahogany, molave, narra, and coffee, among others, are raised in the halfhectare nursery in Lomboy.

Lauriano Saldino, 61, president of the association, said the community is thankful of the opportunity. “Kapag maitanim na po ito sa amin, kami naman po ang poprotekta dito, at aalagaan hanggang sa paglaki (We would take care of these seedlings and we would protect these until they grow into trees).”

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