Armm gets nearly P50 million for reforestation program

MANILA — Some 2,500 hectares of denuded and open forestland in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (Armm) will be planted with new trees under the National Greening Program.

Environment Secretary Ramon Paje said P49.6 million will be forwarded to the Armm government to carry out a massive tree planting program within its five provinces Basilan, Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi.

At the same time, Paje said that he is planning to send his key senior officials there for them "to gain a front seat view of how resource management is undertaken there and how we can contribute in improving it."

"This collaboration sets a critical milestone in ecological governance for the region and bodes well for addressing the social and economic challenges which the region undoubtedly faces," he said.

For his part, Armm OIC Governor Mujiv Hataman said the program offers alternative livelihood to forest-based communities that are usually enticed to engage in illegal logging activities due to lack of livelihood opportunities in the uplands.

Some 69.37 million tree seedlings have been planted in some 117,688 hectares of open and denuded forestland nationwide, about 17 percent above the 100,000-hectare target for 2011.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) intends to double the target at 200,000 hectares this year. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)

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