THE Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)-Northern Mindanao, through its Community-Based Forest Management (CBFM) program, has forged a partnership with upland communities in the region to help villagers earn and maintain a livelihood and manage and protect the environment.
The CBFM program is a national strategy to promote sustainable forest management and a by-product of the government's measure in addressing the needs of local communities that will educate them to protect and manage responsibly the source of their livelihood.
Cathy Escuzar, regional CBFM coordinator of DENR-Northern Mindanao, said there are already six proposed agroforestry development projects by various people's organizations in the region.
Out of the six projects, Escuzar said three are in Misamis Oriental, one in Camiguin, one in Bukidnon, and one in Misamis Occidental.
Among DENR-Northern Mindanao's partnered people's organization were: Pedlagahan ISF Farmers Association, Overlooking Malandog Planters Association Inc., Kimat Biodiversity Farmers Association Inc., Sitio Lunao Barangay Sungay Farmers Association, and Nagmainitong Paghugpong sa mga Kapunongan Ubos sa Baruganan sa Nagmakanunayong Kalambuan sa Mainit Inc.
Escuzar said the initial budget allotted to the six proposed projects amounted to P7 million.
"Sa una, ang gi-provide is tenure instrument lang under sa agrarian reform, sa non-governance na sya, so ang security of tenure. Dayon, kailangan naay intervention sa area of development mao na nga nag provide mi og intervention sa area, mag-extend sila og project sa ila depende sa ilang i-sumbmit nga proposal (At first, we only provided security of tenure under the Department of Agrarian Reform. But now, we saw the need for an intervention to the area of development, that's why we also provided intervention in the area. They will implement their projects depending on the proposal they will submit)," Escuzar said, adding that trainings and inputs will also be included.
The regional CBFM coordinator also said the projects, after its approval and release of budget, will start on March.
The villagers, Escuzar said, will be able to earn additional income through the projects by selling the by-products to the market, which will be identified by the DENR.
DENR-Northern Mindanao Director Arleigh Adorable, for his part, acknowledged the importance of a partnership between the government and upland communities.
Adorable said the partnership will capacitate the latter to earn and maintain a livelihood and at the same time help the former to manage and protect the environment.