THE Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Central Visayas aims to plant 399,100 replacement seedlings in National Greening Program (NGP) sites across Cebu province.
However, the release of the funds for the project has yet to be cleared by the DENR central office in Manila.
According to DENR 7 Assistant Regional Director Eduardo Inting, without a written policy from the DENR head office on the use of the funds, they could not yet start with a five-year tree replacement program which they entered into with the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) 7.
“Although there is now a memorandum from the director of the Forest Management Bureau allowing us to use that, we really have to clarify with Central Office,” he said in a mix of Cebuano and English.
In hopes to deliver their road projects on time, DPWH 7 signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with DENR 7 and committed to comply with the latter’s policy to plant the required number of trees to replace those that were cut during the DPWH road construction.
DPWH 7 Director Edgar Tabacon and then DENR 7 Regional Executive Director Gilbert Gonzales signed the agreement last Jan. 8, 2019.
Based on the MOA, it will be DENR 7 which will identify suitable planting or replanting sites that can accommodate the total number of trees for replacement. The agency will also undertake the planting or replanting of the seedlings.
“Our plan is to plant the trees on our NGP sites because there are those with low survival (rates). We don’t have to look for other sites. There are already existing sites that need rehabilitation,” Inting said.
The NGP, now Enhanced NGP, is the DENR’s banner program which aims to implement the sustainable management of natural resources.
Luisito T. Babaran, Regional NGP Coordinator, said Cebu has NGP sites in Barangay Compostela in Alegria, Campo-Manipis in Minglanilla, Barangay Kanga-suhan in Carcar City, and Barangay Tabili in Catmon among others.
Under the agreement, the DPWH 7 promised to allocate and transfer funds directly to the DENR 7 Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (Penro) concerned.
In Cebu province alone, P96,199,400 has been earmarked as seedling replacement program cost to cover 15 projects undertaken by the DPWH 7.
Every tree that will be affected by DPWH 7 projects will be replaced with 100 seedlings within a five-year period, according to the MOA.
The activities for the first year of the program will include site assessment, seedling production, site preparation and planting; while the project’s maintenance, protection, management and supervision will run for the entire five years.
Divina Carreon, DENR 7 Finance Division Chief, said the DPWH 7 has already transferred funds to Penro Cebu, amounting to P11,794,000, for the expenses for the first year of the program.
The fund is now deposited to the National Treasury in accordance with Sec. 6 of the General Provisions of the General Appropriations Act (GAA).
“Trust receipts shall be disbursed in accordance with the purpose for which it is created, subject to the applicable special provisions and accounting and auditing rules and regulations,” reads a portion of the law. (WBS)