THE Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has entered into two agreements with the Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) to reinforce their collaboration on environmental protection and job creation within the environment sector.
Environment Secretary Ramon J.P. Paje and LBP President and Chief Executive Officer Gilda Pico signed the partnership agreements on the implementation of the bank’s Adopt-A-Watershed Program (AAWP) and ‘Gawad Patnubay’ Scholarship Program (GPSP) at the bank’s head office in Manila.
“The two programs highlight the LBP’s commitment to strike a balance between promoting countryside development and incorporating environmental management practices in its operations and services,” Paje said.
Now on its third phase, the AAWP involves the rehabilitation of 60 hectares of denuded and degraded forestlands. The LBP and DENR have been partners in the program since the first phase was launched in 2006.
Pico, for her part, said the DENR-LBP agreements take their partnership “a step further as we expand what we have started in 2006,” noting that the partnership supports LBP’s agenda to tap the power of volunteerism as a key element in promoting rural development anchored in sustainable development principles.
“As firm advocates of environmental protection, we at LandBank welcome this opportunity to contribute not only in the preservation and protection of our watersheds, but also in the promotion of environmental protection through volunteerism,” Pico said.
The undertaking will involve LBP’s workforce nationwide and the different people’s organizations involved in LandBank’s various poverty alleviation projects.
Under their renewed partnership, LBP will shell out P1.8 million to cover the cost of planting and maintenance of the planted seedlings, including monitoring activities and capability building of implementing partners.
The DENR, on the other hand, will provide technical support in terms of site and species selection, designation of focal persons and formulation of rehabilitation plans with concerned people’s organizations.
Some 14 hectares of degraded forestlands were rehabilitated during the first phase of the project and 40 hectares during the second phase.
Meanwhile, Pico also expressed her gratitude to the DENR as the newest partner of LBP’s ‘Gawad Patnubay’ Scholarship Program, citing the important role the DENR plays in helping the bank address rural poverty by producing graduates in agriculture-related courses.
Under the GPSP agreement, the DENR opened its facilities and manpower at DENR offices nationwide for the conduct of job readiness and skills training or internship for LandBank’s scholars.
GPSP involves a 10-week internship program dubbed ‘Education-to-Employment’ or E2E, for its graduates to help them develop their career goals and learn the needed skills in the real world.
The first batch of GSPS interns consisted of 10 graduates of agriculture, agriculture chemistry and agriculture business courses. Seven of them graduated with honors, either magna cum laude or cum laude.
“The DENR, too, shares the LBP’s vision of providing a solid base of education for the next generation of agri-scientists and farmers,” Paje said.