President Aquino urges Filipinos to further protect forests to help curb climate change

By Leslie D. Venzon

MANILA, Oct. 28 (PNA) — President Benigno S. Aquino III on Wednesday encouraged Filipinos to continue participating in initiatives to further protect Philippine forests that offer significant climate change mitigation and provide livelihood benefits to communities.

During the 2015 Community-Based Forest Management National Greening Program (CBFM-NGP) Congress, President Aquino cited the government’s NGP which already planted 766 million seedlings in 1.2 million hectares of land.

“Nalampasan na po natin ang pinagsamang 1.19 milyong ektarya ng naunang apat na administrasyon,” he said.

The President noted that the million of hectares of land planted to trees can absorb 30 million tons of carbon every year.

“Ang dating forest cover naman na 6.8 million hectares bago mag-umpisa ang programa, lumawak na sa 8 milyong ektarya. Ibig-sabihin niyan: mas malinis na hangin para sa milyon-milyon nating kababayan; mas masiglang kalikasan at mas napangalagaang likas na yaman, na mapapakinabangan ng mas nakararami,” President Aquino said.

The President said the government has also intensified its campaign against illegal logging.

“Ang 197 illegal logging hotspots sa bansa noong 2011, naibaba na natin sa 23 nitong Oktubre. Ang nakumpiska naman pong 30.71 million board-feet ng ilegal na troso at forest products, nagamit natin para maipaayos ang 388 na school buildings, at magpagawa ang mahigit 146,470 na mga upuan at kagamitan sa atin pong mga pampublikong paaralan,” he said.

The Chief Executive said various initiatives to protect forests have already provided livelihoods to 390,000 individuals.

President Aquino noted that planting mangroves can prevent destructive effects of storm surge.

“Bukod nga sa pagiging proteksiyon mula sa sakuna, ito pong mga mangroves ay nagsisilbing tirahan ng mga alimango at hipon, na maaaring ibenta ng mga nangangalaga dito. Siyempre po, kapag mas ligtas ang komunidad, mas maeengganyo rin ang marami pang turistang bumisita sa mga ito,” he further said.

President Aquino stressed that Community Based Forest Management also introduces planting of alternative crops like coffee and cacao, as well as identifying areas appropriate to grow them, using fertilizer and the establishment of nursery suited to crops.

The President said the Forestland Boundary Delineation in all provinces in the country has been completed this year.

“Ang benepisyo nito: Dahil tukoy na ang mga bahagi ng kagubatan at kung ano ang lupang magagamit para sa agrikultura at iba pang kabuhayan, mas makakatutok na tayo sa pagpapaunlad sa mga industriyang makakatulong sa pagbubukas ng mas maraming oportunidad sa ating mga kababayan,” he noted.

This month, President Aquino said the government has submitted to United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change the document identifying the country’s “intended nationally determined contribution” to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 70 percent come 2030.

“Maliwanag nga sa atin: Kung ayaw nating kaharapin ng ating mga anak ang mga kalamidad at pagsubok na dinanas natin, kailangang makiisa tayo sa abot ng ating makakaya para hubugin ang isang mas maaliwalas na bukas,” he said.

“Klaro po: Inaani na natin ang mga positibong bunga ng ipinunla nating magagandang inisyatiba—mula sa pangangalaga sa kalikasan, sa pagpapaunlad ng ekonomiya, hanggang sa paglalatag ng pagkakataon na maghahatid ng benepisyo sa mamamayan,” the President added. (PNA)