The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR-7) and the Department of Education (DepEd-7) met recently to discuss the details for a massive greening program in Central Visayas.

DENR-7 regional executive director Maximo Dichoso explained that the National Greening Program (NGP) is a priority agenda of President Benigno S. Aquino III in an effort to bring back the lost forest cover of the country.

Specifically, Dichoso said the goal is to plant 1.5 billion trees in some 1.5 million hectares from 2011 to 2016, which is more than twice the government’s accomplishment of 730,000 hectares for the past 25 years.

The target areas for planting under the program are forestlands, mangrove and protected areas, ancestral domains, civil and military reservations, urban area under the Greening Plan of local government units, inactive and abandoned mines and other suitable lands.

For Central Visayas, a total of 2.816 million seedlings will be planted this year to cover 5,632 hectares.

Dichoso said, our forest could sequester carbon as it regulates climate and provide clean water and clean air for a healthier environment.

“It also provides stable watershed function and nutrients steady supply of food and shelter for wildlife, adequate supply of seeds and wildlings, protection from heavy rains and storms, windbreaker, prevention of flash floods and landslides and revival of biodiversity” he added.

Under the program, the DENR-7 provides planting materials and technical assistance such as assessment of the identified planting sites, conduct of training and orientation on the proper planting and caring of planted seedlings, community development, and periodically monitors the survival of the seedlings.

The government is embarking on a massive greening program aimed at reducing poverty in the countryside while ensuring food security, biodiversity conservation and address climate change.

Dichoso also emphasized that the NGP is a collective effort and is counting on people’s participation through social mobilization by drawing partnership with all national government agencies, LGUs, government owned and controlled corporations, including state colleges and universities to harness their maximum participation through their personnel complement.

This program encourages the students as well as the government officials to plant more trees in order to prevent calamities and to ensure that the next generation will inherit a clean air and livable environment.

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