THE Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in the City of San Fernando and the Star 8 Green Technology Corporation (GTC) launched recently the "New Tomorrow" program that will further boost the development and protection of established plantations in Bataan under the National Greening Program (NGP).
Paquito Moreno Jr., executive director of the DENR in Central Luzon, said the Star 8 GTC will adopt an estimated 350 hectares NGP established plantation inside the multiple-use zone of the Bataan Natural Park in Morong town under the "new tomorrow" concept to strengthen its protection and enhance the development of agroforestry.
"Admittedly, the task of ensuring the survival of planted trees needs more manpower and resources that the DENR cannot provide and despite NGP's significant gains, it also has its shortcomings that need utmost attention," he said.
He said this is where the private sector comes in, like the Star 8 GTC, adopting established NGP plantations, where the company commits to continue the fight for a better tomorrow, creating opportunities for the community to improve themselves in the battle against Covid-19.
"The major challenge besetting the forestry sector is how to provide sustainable financing for sustainable forest management to mobilize green investment from international, national, and regional sources especially those coming from the private sector," Moreno added.
A "New Tomorrow," he noted, is indeed suitable as it involves all stakeholders to proactively integrate forestry programs into the wider context of development and instead of viewing forestry as a corporate sector.
"We see more jobs being provided to local communities including our indigenous people, especially at a time like this, when the economy is still reeling from the effects of the pandemic," he said.
According to Engr. Ronald Laurel, managing director of Star 8 Green Technology Corporation (GTC), they will plant one million coconuts, cashew nut, and coffee within the 350-hectare adopted NGP plantation.
"The fruit crops will be inter-cropped with already growing forest trees and seedlings in the area to augment forest cover and at the same time provide livelihood opportunities to local communities in the area coming from the harvest in the planted crops," he said.
NGP was launched in 2011 which aims to reforest 1.5 million hectares of denuded forestlands and watersheds in the country, reduce poverty, provide food security, conserve biodiversity and address global warming and climate change.
The program was expanded until 2028 under Executive Order No. 193 to reforest the remaining degraded forestlands and remains one of the banner programs of the government.
In Central Luzon, the DENR Region III has established more than 122,000 hectares of forest plantation since 2011.
Star 8 GTC is an innovative technology company engaged in introducing new green technology products and applications and a global leader in solar lights and electric vehicles.