DENR enlists 5M studes, 42,000 barangays in greening effort

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has secured the support of more than 5-million students in public elementary and secondary schools nationwide, along with officials and community leaders in 42,000 barangays, to kick off the National Greening Program (NGP).

Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje said Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala will also mobilize the personnel of the Bureau of Soils and Water Management (BSWM) in all regions to support the greening efforts, particularly its biofertilizer requirements.

Paje has been tasked by President Aquino to take the lead in the NGP, which was established through Executive Order No. 26 issued on February 24, 2011 to complement the prohibition of logging in natural and residual forests through Executive Order No. 23.                   

NGP mandates the planting of some 1.5 billion trees in 1.5 million hectares of denuded and marginal lands all over the country from 2011 to 2016.                
EO 26 also mandates the participation of 14 departments and government agencies, State Universities and Colleges (SUCs), local government units (LGUs) and enjoins non-government organizations (NGOs) and people's organizations (POs) to join the effort.

The Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) also play a key role in the program as part of the National Convergence Initiative (NCI).     NGP targets 100,000 hectares for replanting in 2011; 200,000 hectares for 2012; and 300,000 hectares yearly from 2013 to 2016 to complete its goal of reforesting a total of 1.5 million hectares.

The DENR chief said the NGP is also an economic program since it complements the DA's goal of achieving food security and alleviating poverty.    NGP actually seeks to make 8 million hectares of degraded land productive in the long run.

“If for every hectare of land produces P10,000 per year,” Paje  said, “this would mean an additional income of P80 billion for rural families annually.” 

DAR Secretary Virgilio de los Reyes noted that since agrarian reform communities (ARCs) are located in or in the vicinity of forests, he said residents in these communities maintain close and mutually beneficial and protective relationship with forests.

“If we cannot protect our forests, we cannot protect our agrarian reform beneficiaries,” he said.

In his speech, read by Philippine Agricultural Development and Commercial Corp. (PADCC) president  Marriz B. Agbon,  Alcala lauded the NCI and committed the DA to science-led sustainable agricultural technologies and development.   

“Malinaw ang mga direktang benepisyo: Bawas-insidente ng kahirapan at kagutuman sa mga dahop na komunidad sa kapatagan man o uplands, at katiyakan sa pambansang kasapatan sa pagkain,” Alcala explained.

Citing the need for more irrigation facilities to enable farming, Alcala also underlined DA efforts to develop scientific organic farming in the countryside, reducing the costs of input to farmers and moving faster into sustainable natural methods.

Soil fertility and care being paramount, Alcala assigned BSWM to spearhead the organic development effort.

The Department of Education (DepEd) has committed 5-million students and faculty members to back up NGP.
Grades 5 and 6 and high school students will be focused on the denuded areas planting effort, while elementary schools will support the nursery efforts.

The Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) has committed the support of all SUCs and private colleges within its system.

For its part, the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) has committed to mobilize officials and residents in 42,000 barangays nationwide for the effort.


DENR moves to resolve abandoned cadastral survey projects

In a move to fast track the cadastral survey of all cities and municipalities nationwide, Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje issued new guidelines on the final disposition of abandoned cadastral survey projects.

At the same time, Paje directed all regional officials to conduct an inventory of abandoned cadastral survey projects and establish a database to facilitate the determination of needed actions to complete the undertaking.

“Among the concerns of the present administration of President Benigno S. Aquino III is to fast-track the nationwide cadastral survey.  This is in support of other critical projects of the government, such as land titling, land use planning, taxation and the internal revenue allotment (IRA) program for the different municipalities nationwide,” DENR Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje said.

Paje, however, said the nationwide cadastral survey program is hindered by some abandoned survey projects which the government has contracted out with private surveyors.  

“DENR Administrative Order No. 2011-05, which sets the new guidelines on the disposal of abandoned cadastral survey projects, is intended not only to systematize the process of resolving this issue of abandoned or incomplete cadastral survey projects but also to facilitate the development of a database that can also serve as a monitoring tool as it can be updated anytime,” Paje explained.  

Cadastral survey is a type of land survey intended to determine the administrative boundary of a city or a municipality and its component barangays.  It also includes the determination of administrative boundary of lots in alienable and disposable lands of the public domain for purposes of land titling.  

Paje said the DENR is set to complete the survey of 263 more municipalities and 18 cities with total coverage of 6,312, 932 hectares during year.

Records from the Land Management Bureau indicated that from 2007 to 2010, some 104 cities and 780 municipalities, with accumulated area of 16,898,210 hectares, already have complete and approved cadastral survey results, while some 294 municipalities and 12 cities with total land area of 6,718,043 hectares are partially surveyed.

“This leaves us with 45 municipalities to target in the coming years, and those that have been left abandoned,” Paje said. 

Among other things, the DENR order provides for the procedures in handling abandoned cadastral surveys, including incomplete projects, projects with uncorrected survey returns, unfinished survey projects either due to the death of the contractor or force majeure.

Under the order, a cadastral survey project is considered abandoned under the following conditions:  1) when field activities are left unfinished after the period stipulated in the contract, 2) when the contractors fail to correct survey defects within the period to be determined by the DENR regional office, and 3)  when such cadastral project awarded in earlier DENR cadastral programs is listed as “not completed” in the DENR inventory.   

Paje said he has given the regional executive director (RED) of the DENR the authority to cancel abandoned cadastral survey projects and to determine the appropriate sanctions to be imposed on the contractor.

Among the grounds where the RED can imposition sanctions against an erring contractor or geodetic engineer include the following: failure to complete the survey within the contract period; failure to undertake the necessary correction of the survey projects within the prescribed period; failure to return survey project records; and other violations on other provisions in the contract.  


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