August 2, 2012
Drilon encourages planting of trees to mitigate floods
Senator Franklin M. Drilon today encouraged the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to step up its efforts at planting 1.5 billion trees in 1.5 million hectares under the National Greening Program, especially in light of the recent typhoon.
"I really encourage the DENR to intensify the implementation of the national greening program for I see no better way to mitigate the effects of typhoons and other natural calamities than to restore and preserve our environment, our forests," said Drilon.
At a Senate Finance Committee performance review of his agency, Environment Secretary Ramon Paje reported that a total of 71 million seedlings were planted in about 140,000 hectares of denuded lands across the country,
"For 2011 and 2012, we have planted about 140,000 hectares with 71 million seedlings of different species," said Paje, adding that 300,000 jobs were created from seedling production and plantation establishment in 2011.
The figure is 9.3 percent of the 1.5 million hectares that the government intends to reforest with 1.5 billion seedlings in the next six years started in 2011, said Drilon.
"This is the second year of the six-year national greening program of the DENR and is the biggest reforestation program in our history," said Drilon.
"The goal is to plant 1.5 billion trees in 1.5 million hectares for the next six years. That is about 28% more trees than what was planted for the past 50 years. For 2012, the DENR target is 77 million trees to be planted in 150,000 hectares," he said.
The DENR was allocated with P2.7 billion for NGP and will increase to P5.7 billion in the proposed P2.006-trillion 2013 national budget, noted Drilon.
Drilon also stressed there are 8 million hectares of denuded land out of 15.8 million hectares classified as forest lands.
Next year, Drilon said, the budget of DENR will increase to P23.7 billion from P17.5 billion, including Miscellaneous Personnel Benefit Fund (MPBF) and Personnel Gratuity Fund (PGF).
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