The National Greening Program has had its share of recognition as government’s regreening program. Social mobilization marked its early years and convergence, corporate social responsibility were buss words associated with it. After the initial excitement that comes with anything new, the NGP went about its implementation, quietly and unobtrusively, not that there wasn’t anything relevant happening.
Between its launch in 2011 and culmination in 2016 are untold stories of struggles and success of beneficiary communities in their journey towards empowerment and self-sufficiency, of the role of science and technology as well as good governance practices in achieving the goals and objectives. These remarkable tales of people, extension officers and other implementers on the ground are written, captured and featured in a coffee table book and a documentary video as an expression of appreciation, gratitude and compliments to the implementing partner organization, field implementers, and other partners from the private sector, other government agencies, SUCs, civil society organizations, non-government organizations.
The coffee table book was launched on October 3, 2018 at the Crowne Plaza Manila Galleria, Ortigas, Quezon City. This event was attended by the partner Peoples’ Organization, heads and representatives of the private sector, state universities and colleges, non-government organizations, and civil society organizations. It was an honor to have the presence of Cong. Corazon Nuñez-Malanyaon and Cong. Leopoldo Bataoil and representative of Sen. Cynthia Villar. Also, presence of the DENR Field Officials, Bureaus, attached agencies and field implementers were also present in the launching.
The programme started with a doxology followed by the singing of the National Anthem. Assistant Director Mayumi Quintos-Natividad of the Forest Management Bureau gave her opening remarks where she acknowledged the presence of Cong. Corazon Nuñez-Malanyaon, and Cong. Leopoldo Bataoil, representative of Senator Cynthia Villar, partners from the private sectors, the community organization leaders, the state universities and colleges, the DENR Regional Executive Directors, Field Officials from the provincial and community offices. On her note, she stated that the NGP is unlike past reforestation initiatives for it also multi-pronged objectives which are also pressing concerns of the government. Her remarks ended by expressing her heartening appreciation to the presence of the partners and actors, legislators and DENR personnel that paved way to fruitful results which is depicted in the Coffee Table Book and Documentary Video.
The launching was accentuated by a keynote speech from DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu. He was introduced by Asec. Ricardo Calderon, Assistant Secretary for Staff Bureaus, as a remarkable military and government servant which is evident in his excellent record of service. From being the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, now a distinguished Cabinet Secretary, he still does tactical preparations and in depth assessment of plans to defend the state of our natural resources.
In his message, the DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu emphasized the NGP as a banner program of the Department which goes beyond reforestation promoting poverty reduction, environmental stability, food security, and climate change mitigation and adaptation. He also emphasized the need to deter bio-piracy wherein he acknowledged the initiative of Cong. Bataoil to plant Ilang-ilang, a plant that is native to the Philippines. Also, he commended the Department’s private partners such as Nestle, Aboitiz, Energy Development Corporation, ABS-CBN Foundation, Canon, and SM Foundation for rehabilitating wetlands in Boracay. He also pressed the need for the DENR to put a detachment of people from the forest and the rivers where illegal logs are being transported down the stream, and where sawmills are being established. He commended the work of our field personnel for a successful implementation of monitoring of illegal logging, wildlife poaching, among others. With this, the Secretary also mentioned that the DENR, in partnership with the Armed Forces of the Philippines joint forces to help in the patrol of the forests in Palawan. Moreover, he also said that the cause of low survival rates in our plantations is site-species unsuitability. He added that the conduct of site-species-market matching should not be done in a haphazard manner since this is a proper way to address the issue of low survival. He also emphasized the use of geotagging, geographic information system, and drones in the monitoring and detection of the plantation, whether existing or not. In closing, the Secretary acknowledged the engagement of our partner organizations in the project implementation through the convergence initiative, that will be able to help in managing our environment.
For the main event, the stage was graced by the presence Secretary Cimatu, Congresswoman Malanyaon, Congressman Bataoil, ASec. Calderon and Director Tamayo as they unveiled the NGP Coffee Table Book entitled “A Glimpse of NGP: A Portrait of Hope and Success.” A ceremonial turn-over of the coffee table book to the development partners was done by giving copies of it starting from the featured community and peoples’ organization in the island of Luzon, followed by state university and college presidents and representatives, to Mr. Jose Luis Fernandez of the UN FAO, the group of the Private Sector, then to the featured community and peoples’ organization of the Visayas and Mindanao Island, and finally, to other government agencies.
Also, a ceremonial signing of Memoranda of Agreement with the SM Foundation, Inc. on the continuation of their “Grow a Million Tree Project”, and with the eight SUCs headed by the Mariano Marcos State University including seven more namely: Pangasinan State University, Central Luzon State University, Marinduque State Colleges, Cagayan State University, Aklan State University, University of Antique, Western Philippines University, on their development of biofuel from Nipa palm.
Sen. Cynthia Villar, through a video message, extended her warm greetings and congratulations to the DENR and its partners for the creation of the NGP Coffee Table Book and video documentation.
In closing, a documentary video of the NGP was shown which tells of various stories of our partners from different walks of life. These stories and testimonies of what they have experienced and have undergone throughout the course of the project implementation help in the sustainability and continuity of the program as it strives to achieve its targets and yield better results.