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To Mitigate Effects of Climate Change: Virac LGU Shifts Focus to Mangrove Reforestation - CT

The municipality of Virac has planted 35,000 propagules on 7.5 hectares of mangrove areas in five coastal barangays so far this year as it shifted its regular tree planting activity to mangrove reforestation and coastal management.

Last Friday, Mayor Santos V. Zafe led municipal officials and employees in planting 22,000 propagules in five hectares of mangrove swamps in barangays Balite, Batag and Marilima. They were joined and assisted by volunteers from the Regional Fisheries Training Center, the Barangay Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Management Councils, the 905th Philippine Coast Guard Auxiliary Squadron, and barangay officials.

The mayor kicked off the current campaign to replant mangrove areas on Julty 14, with 5,000 planted in the Palnab del Sur swampland, followed by 8,000 more in Magnesia del Sur. He said that the project, including the establishment of eucheuma (seaweed) test plots in barangays Batag, Marilima, Magnesia del Sur and Magnesia del Norte beginning August 23, is the municipality’s contribution to global efforts to curb or mitigate the effects of climate change.

The town’s effort has been gratefully acknowledged by officials of the Department of the Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), which is in the midst of implementing its own mangrove reforestation under the Upland Development Program.

PENRO Benjamin Medel said 35 families are replanting 35 hectares of mangrove in barangays Moning, Genitligan, Bagong Sirang, P. Teston, and Putsan Danao under the family approach. The families are now establishing mangrove plantations after accomplishing the seedling procurement stage.

Aside from mangrove, the DENR has targeted under the program for Catanduanes 180 hectares for forestland reforestation, 180 hectares for agro-forestry and 90 hectares under the Assisted Natural Regeneration, for a total of 485 hectares.

The Upland Development Program is aimed at creating additional and immediate employment and increased incomes for upland households and people’s organizations; improve productivity; and, rehabilitate, manage and protect forests, watersheds, coastal areas and mangroves.

Individual farmers and people’s organizations are given funds for the procurement of fruit tree seedlings, seedlings of cash crops and high-value commercial crops, and others. The DENR said the cost of each one-hectare contract is P12,953 per hectare for reforestatiob, P9,145 for Assisted Natural Regeneration and Enrichment Planting, P32,195 for Agro-forestry and Mangrove Reforestation.

The identified agro-forestry areas are in Progreso (48 hectares), Summit (46 has.), P. Vera (39 has.), Hicming (45 has.), and Genitligan (30 has.). On the other hand, reforestation projects are on-going in Genitligan (16 has.), San Isidro (San Andres, 78 has.), Progreso (44 has.) and Summit (70 has.).

The Assisted Natural Regeneration sites are in Genitligan (5 has.), San Isidro in San Andres (30 has.), and Summit (34 has.).

Meanwhile, PENRO Benjamin Medel disclosed that the department has temporarily suspended the implementation of the Bantay Gubat project due to lack of funds.

The project, he said, was not included in the list of programs funded under the PGMA Stimulus Program, forcing the DENR to halt hiring of workers. Affected by the suspension are 131 new hires in Catanduanes who had already undergone orientation on forest laws, rules and regulations and signed their contracts.

Medel said that the 10 Bantay Gubat volunteers hired earlier this year were paid for May using regular funds of the PENRO while awaiting the release of project funds, with the workers still to be paid for June. DENR has already forwarded its request for funds with the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) last June but the latter has yet to act on the request.

Source: Catanduanes Tribune - 12 August 2009

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