Aquino Launches National Greening Program

MANILA, Philippines (Xinhua) - President Benigno Aquino III launched yesterday the National Greening Program (NGP) that aims to recover the country's depleting forest areas and ensure self-sufficiency in its timber needs.

The launching of the program at the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) was in relation to an executive order that Aquino issued earlier this year for a nationwide reforestation initiative.

The President issued Executive Order 26 in February this year designating the DENR as the leading agency in carrying out the program in coordination with the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Agrarian Reform.

In his speech at the launch of the NGP, the President called on the people to join him in the greening program saying that the country is now starting to realize its dreams for the benefit of the Filipinos.

Under the NGP, the government targets to plant 1.5 billion trees covering about 1.5 million hectares of lands in public domain from 2011 to 2016. The government expects the program could double the efforts achieved in the last 25 years.

For 2011, the government targets to reforest 100,000 hectares of land under the NGP and increase it to 200,000 hectares for 2012. The coverage will then be increased to 300,000 hectares in the succeeding years until 2016.

Updated May 14, 2011 12:00 AM