Two hundred barangays in Mindanao will soon conduct massive reforestation aimed at generating at least two million forest tree seedlings to be planted in typhoon-prone and perennially flooded areas in the island region.
Called the Barangay StraTREEgic Forest Project (BSFP), the activity is designed to rehabilitate natural habitats and strengthen multi-sectoral commitment in the reforestation of Mindanao’s denuded areas.
The initiative is a collaborative effort of the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA), the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) through MinDA’s MindaNOW! Nurturing Our Waters Program and DENR’s Barangay Forest Program (BFP), a component of its National Greening Program (NGP).
MinDA Chairperson Luwalhati Antonino revealed that for the first batch of implementation, MinDA committed 200 planting sites to jumpstart and fast-track the BSFP initiative within the island-region.
“Among the prioritized barangays also include those that are located near critical coastal areas and rivers,” said Antonino while adding that “the project also includes sustainable livelihood for the identified barangays to ensure that the barangay constituents can develop a steady source of income by protecting the environment.”
The Barangay StraTREEgic Forest Project also encourages the establishment of the Payment for Environment Services (PES), a mechanism designed to guarantee sustainability of industries that are dependent on natural resources and help restore areas with heavily degraded environment.
The PES ensures that local governance are paralleled with efforts to protect and conserve the environment by creating an ordinance that allows it to collect fees from its constituents who subscribe to services that are dependent on natural resources.
In the Municipality of Naawan in Misamis Oriental, the local government is successfully implementing its PES program by collecting P1 for every cubic meter of water that a household consumes.
The pooled funds will be allocated for the reforestation of Lake Danao, the town’s water source to ensure sustainability of their local water system, which is dependent on the lake.
“The role of LGUs in this undertaking is crucial as many of our efforts depend largely on the quality of leadership and governance that we have at the local level. Our goal is to sustain the reforestation efforts even beyond 2016,” Antonino said.
She added that MinDA is also looking at tapping corporate partners as well as the private sector in coming up with an incentive scheme for the top performing barangays under the StraTREEgic program.
The DENR committed to allocate P100,000 to generate at least 10,000 seedlings per identified barangay and will facilitate the establishment of nurseries and tree-growing activities in the barangay-level.