BAYOMBONG, Nueva Vizcaya—In line with President Aquino’s Executive Order 26 dated Feb. 24, 2011, creating the National Greening Program (NGP), an Australian mining company which operates the Didipio gold-copper project at the mineral-rich town of Kasibu, Nueva Vizcaya, has donated a total of 101,620 forest-tree seedlings distributed for free in the different villages of the upland town from 2011 to 2012.
OceanaGold Philippines Inc. (OGPI) and the Cagayan Valley regional office of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) have previously forged a memorandum of agreement (MOA) that launched the national reforestation project in the two provinces two years ago.
Aside from gmelina, mahogany and acacia, fruit tree seedlings like cacao and rambutan were also dispersed in barangays Papaya, Wangal, Capisaan, Belet, Binogawan, Tadjie, Alloy, Pudi, Upper Tucod and Poblacion in Kasibu and barangays Tucod, Dibibi, Cabarroguis in Quirino province.
The national government-initiated program in collaboration with different stakeholders and partners aim to undertake the planting of 1.5 billion trees covering 1.5 million hectares in a span of six years from 2011 to 2016 in order to mitigate climate change, ensure security of water supply, conserve biodiversity and establish reforestation and agro-forest to alleviate poverty.
In signing the memorandum of agreement (MOA), OGPI, the first private company in the region responding to the greening program was represented by OGPI Country Director Bradley Norman, while DENR-Cagayan Valley technical director for forest-management services Wilfredo Malvar represented regional executive director Benjamin Tumaliuan.
In support to the program, OGPI has manifested commitment and intention to establish the reforestation project in partnership with the environment department.
As lead agency, the DENR will identify, conduct survey and conduct mapping of the proposed area. It shall, likewise, provide technical assistance and supervision during the plantation development.
The company shall provide funding to labor and seedling requirements of the project.
“Students composed mainly of OGPI scholars were tapped on site preparations and seedling production,” said OGPI Senior Vice President for Communications and External Affairs Ramoncito Gozar.
Recipient of various awards for its reforestation programs, including the Best Mining Forest Awards, OGPI has committed to support a 50-hectare reforestation project in the open and denuded villages in the municipality of Kasibu, 20 hectares of it will be established within the municipal proper.