The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has partnered with the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) for the establishment of bamboo plantations in Bulacan as part of the National Greening Program (NGP).
Held with a ceremonial bamboo planting at the Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife Center, the signing of a memorandum of agreement (MOA) signified the partnership of the DENR and the DILG-Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) for the adoption of two NGP reforestation areas in the municipalities of Norzagaray and Doña Remedios Trinidad.
The agreement will implement the planting of bamboo and other forest and fruit-bearing species in the 25-hectare reforestation area at Brgy. San Lorenzo in Norzagaray and a 25-hectare reforestation area at Brgy. Kalawakan in Doña Remedios Trinidad.
Moreover, the DENR will provide a tree plantation plan and technical assistance, while the DILG-BFP will spearhead the plantation, rehabilitation, maintenance, protection, conservation, and other related activities of the adopted plantation sites to sustain the growth and survival of the planted seedlings for five years.
The MOA signing was led by DENR-Central Luzon Regional Executive Director Paquito Moreno Jr. and DILG-BFP Chief Director Louie Puracan.
In his keynote message read by DENR-Strategic Communication and Initiatives Service (SCIS) Director Khalil Sergio Bayam, Acting Secretary Jim Sampulna acknowledged the initial partnership of the two agencies.
“We take this as a noble act on the part of the DILG-BFP because we, at the DENR, could certainly look forward to more successful and sustained forest rehabilitation efforts in these areas,” Sampulna said.
Meanwhile, Puracan said the DILG-BFP initiated the partnership not only for environmental protection but also to empower and provide a livelihood to the local community and indigenous peoples living around the sites, as well as, for their own BFP firefighters given its “limitless potentials”.
“Around 40,000 BFP personnel will plant at least 10 bamboo seedlings, equating to 400,000 bamboo seedlings.”
He estimated around 40,000 BFP personnel will plant at least 10 bamboo seedlings, equating to 400,000 bamboo seedlings.
Moreover, Moreno also highlighted the timeliness of the partnership, as the BFP will experience firsthand how to protect these sites during summer when forest fires are rampant in the country.
“Forest fire is the biggest issue in terms of forest protection or established plantation protection.”
“Forest fire is the biggest issue in terms of forest protection or established plantation protection. I hope that this MOA will spur a sustainable, broader partnership among our partners on forest protection and establishment,” he stressed.
The MOA also allows the DILG-BFP to engage the services of the concerned community in implementing seedling production, planting, maintenance, and protection activities.
For these adopted areas, the DILG-BFP will also establish a forest fire station where basic firefighting equipment, supplies, or vehicles are available for immediate response to forest fires.
DILG-BFP is also responsible for the establishment of fire lookout towers and the provision of manpower.
In 2020, forest fires destroyed 7,830 hectares of NGP forestland areas that cost about P120 million. Of the total damaged area, 2,169 hectares were in Central Luzon.
In time with Fire Prevention Month, the MOA signing was conducted in collaboration with the DENR Tayo Ang Kalikasan and SCIS. It is also supported by the Philippine Bamboo Industry Development Council.
The planting of bamboo in various sites in Central Luzon and National Capital Region and coastal cleanup in Region 4A, in collaboration with the BFP, were also held in March.