June 12, 2021
The government has asked Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) for an extension of the P5.87 billion Forestland Management Project (FMP) which was halted due to the Covid 19 pandemic while having successfully established 71,300 hectares of agroforestory plantation.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) needs time to complete maintenance works for the protection of established plantations over the mandated three river basins of FMP.
Originally aimed to strengthen forest management in three critical river basins of the Philippines, FMP is about to end in 2022 after having helped the grassroots communities in the uplands.
Traditionally the poorest of all farmers due to their far distance from markets, the upland farmers of FMO, represented in 149 people’s organizations (PO), have benefitted economically from FMP.
The POs have also become stronger protectors of the watersheds in the three critical river basins—Upper Magat and Cagayan River Basin (Quirino, Cordillera Administrative Region, Ifugao); Upper Pampanga River Basin (Nueva Ecija); and Jalaur River Basin (Iloilo).
“We have a pending request for an extension on one year to complete activities on maintenance and protection of established plantations, construction of agroforestry support facilities, and implementation of the sustainability action plan,” said Marlon Atienza, FMP project manager.
.”The request is made in view of the effects of the Covid 19 pandemic starting the first quarter of Calendar Year 2020. The request was given approval by the ICC Cabinet Committee through ad referendum and endorsed to Department of Finance.”
Atienza noted the achievements of FMP over its almost 10-year duration.
Forestland Management Project successfully put up 71,300 hectares of agroforestry plantation
“Majority of the project’s deliverables have already been completed– preparation of management plans, organization and strengthening of 149 POs, establishment of 71,300 hectares of tree and agroforestry plantations, organization of watershed management bodies.”
“These deliverables are all indicators for measuring achievement of project objectives. However, we still have to make an assessment of the indicators (increase in forest cover, PO income and decrease in soil erosion).”
DENR is still completing several road and bridge projects even as it is supposedly in the last year of FMP implementation.
Contractors of the P72M Reinforced Concrete Deck Girder (RCDG) bridge in the area of Alimit Langayan Banao (Ifugao) just held in the last week of May a “concrete pouring” ceremony for the bridge. It is a go signal for its construction.
Another FMP project that will benefit the Peoples Organization (PO) of Alimit Langayan Banao Farmers Organization (ALBAFO) is the 3.867 kilometer Brgy. Montabiong Access Road.
Worth P48 million, it is now undergoing construction. It will take 270 days to complete the access road.
“This road concreting will strengthen the connectivity between the Alimit West and Lagawe subwatersheds,” said Atienza.
The Brgy. Montabiong Access Road just also started construction with a groundbreaking ceremony last June 3, 2021.
Aside from ALBAFO, the immediate beneficiary of this access road is the PO Iphodan Di Alah Ad Montabiong Inc. (IDAMI) and DENR-Ifugao Field Implementing Units.
FMP is funded by JICA through a P4.708 billion loan component.
The pineapple-agroforestry enterprise of ALBAFO is expected to benefit significantly from these infrastructure projects.
Thick forest covered Mt. Singit in Janiuay, Iloilo. The DENR’s ENGP is aimed at enhancing the country’s forest cover as it provides us with valuable supply of water, food, medicine and many other ecosystem services. Credit- DENR, Ramon Ramirez
With farmer-training from FMP, the upland dwellers have become more intensive growers of agroforestry products like timber (gmelina, mahogany and narra) and fruit trees (guyabano, cacao, mango).
They have expanded their farming and has reached new markets through FMP’s marketing assistance and promotion.
The total project investment cost is estimated at P5.87 billion of which P1.162 billion is shouldered by the Philippine government. (Melody Mendoza Aguiba)