The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) CALABARZON signed a Memorandum of Agreement with the Eastern Rizal Miners’ Association (ERMA), Inc. under the Tayo Ang Kalikasan Program for adoption of a 20.299 hectares of graduated National Greening Program (NGP) site at Brgy. Kaysakat, San Jose, Antipolo City, Laguna inside the Upper Marikina River Basin Protected Landscape.

The MOA was formally signed on August 16, 2022 by DENR CALABARZON Regional Executive Director Nilo B. Tamoria and ERMA President Angelita I. Lee.

PENRO Rizal Technical Services Division Chief Ernesto Diso shared that since 1995 ERMA has been involved in various environmental programs such as the YES Program and Oplan Busilak of the Provincial Capitol of Rizal.  DENR CALABARZON and ERMA  also has a previous partnership in April 2011 for reforestation of a 20-hectare area in Rizal for 10 years, and has another partnership signed in 2020 for adoption of a 100-hectare NGP plantation devoted for planting of bamboo apportioned to 11 members of ERMA.

The previous partnership expired in 2021 and ERMA moved for its renewal. After review and evaluation of PENRO Rizal, the Association qualified for a partnership under the Tayo Ang Kalikasan Program.

For. Herminigildo C. Jocson, Regional National Greening Program Coordinator, emphasized the importance of continuous management and protection of NGP sites. “We hope that with this MOA, we will rejuvenate our activities and all other environmental advocacies in the 20-hectare area being adopted”, he said.

Under the MOA, ERMA shall submit a 5-year Development Plan; provide manpower and counterpart resources for the maintenance and protection of the designated area consistent with the 5-year development plan; provide counterpart resources intended for labor, materials and other such contributions for the implementation of the project; conduct community service outreach activity including assistance in the development of livelihood opportunities; protect existing vegetation both man-made and natural, and promote conservation of biodiversity within the project area; and submit annual reports including photo-documentation and map of the area planted to the concerned DENR Offices, through channels, on the performance and progress of the development of the project.

Lee expressed her gratitude to DENR CALABARZON for the opportunity to renew the partnership. “Nagpapasalamat po kami dahil na-aprubahan ang aming reforestation for 5 years renewable every 5 years, kasi po ‘pag iniwan po namin iyon, sigurado po nauling na po iyon,” she said. She also shared that there are existing threats in the area. “Mayroon pong nag-aattempt na pumasok para sirain ang mga tanim o magsunog. Tulong na rin natin na kahit 20 hectares ay ating mabantayan at makatulong sa pag-address sa climate change,” she added.     

DENR CALABARZON Regional Executive Director Nilo B. Tamoria shared the limitations of the National Greening Program and the potential role of the private sectors and stakeholders under the Tayo Ang Kalikasan Program to provide assistance in its implementation. “Ang NGP ay may limitasyon dahil may itinakdang tatlong taon lamang kung paano makakapag invest ang pamahalaan - ang unang taon para sa plantation establishment, at huling dalawang taon para sa maintenance and protection. Ngunit hindi po natin masisiguro na sasapat ang dalawang taon ng maintenance at protection upang masustain ang survival rate ng ating mga itinanim. Dito po pumapasok ang programa ng Tayo Ang Kalikasan - upang mabigyan ng pagkakaton ang mga pribadong sektor na maging bahagi ng regreening efforts ng pamahalaan”, Tamoria stressed.

Tamoria also called for private sectors, civic organizations, and other associations to adopt graduated NGP sites in the Region. “Marami pa po ang ga-graduate na NGP site dahil ang enhanced NGP ay hanggang 2028 pa. At patuloy ang ating panawagan na ang mga graduated NGP site ay maging priority site ng mga private sector, civic organizations, and associations upang mapaglaanan ng kanilang Corporate Social Responsibility, nang sa gayon ay masiguro natin na ang mga itinanim at inalagaan sa loob ng tatlong taon ay tataas ang survival rate,” he said.

DENR CALABARZON Assistant Regional Director for Management Services Ronita A. Unlayao and Assistant Regional Director for Technical Services Alfredo C. Palencia witnessed the signing ceremony.

Tayo Ang Kalikasan is a program of DENR which is envisioned to be a collaborative effort between the government and its citizens towards responsible development of natural resources and to ensure restoration, rehabilitation, and enhancement of the environment. For interested organization to partner for NGP, you may coordinate with the closest DENR Office in your area. ###