In February 2011, by virtue of Executive Order No. 26, the National Greening Program (NGP) was established. This forest rehabilitation program aimed to grow 1.5 billion trees in 1.5 million hectares nationwide within a period of six years, from 2011 to 2016.
A quick look at the NGP Accomplishment Report shows that as of June 2015, the Project is almost 90% done, with 614, 921,448 seedlings planted covering 1,035,041 of the 1.2 million hectare target by the end of the year. This Project has also provided jobs for about 2,262,556 people, and has involved 1,582,094 volunteers all over the country.
The numbers prove how greening communities could actually provide jobs and livelihood opportunities for people, all while ensuring a sustainable future for all. Greening clearly could provide both short- and long-term solutions not just to poverty but to the environmental degradation the country has been facing.
Now, the question is, will the National Greening end after 2016?
The Restore Green Movement (Alliance for Green Schools and Communities) is a step ahead with its National Greening Program II (NGP+), as they set to implement the Southern Leyte Action 2020. They will attempt to promote and enhance new forms of cross-sector collaboration in the implementation of the Philippine National Greening Program (NGP), with its schools as lead.
Restore Green Movement holds that “environmental education is the key to advancing sustainability in the future, and that it is the engine 0f collaboration among government, business, religious, civic and non-profit organizations common engagement platform”. The Movement also believes that Southern Leyte will achieve large scale economic progress towards present social and environmental challenges only if a collective citizen engagement driven approach is utilized.
Catalysts for Change
According to Restore Green Movement’s Nelson Enojo, the men who make up the 18 families in scavenger communities only made less than PhP15.00 as daily income in 2009, with the figures based on the PhP179,000.00 worth of recyclables collected in the city dump for that year. He also added that today, only a meager quantity of recyclables reach these people due to the present policy allowing city garbage collectors to sort out recyclables before being dumped in the city landfill.
This brings forth the goal of Southern Leyte Action 2020 – to help scavenger communities by educating them on how to raise quality seedlings.
The Campaign, the Solution, the Vision
Under Southern Leyte Action 2020, implementing Quality or “Q” Seedling Standard would promote livelihood opportunities to scavenger communities in landfill areas as it would require compost soil as potting medium, a component to meet quality seedling standard. The goal is to produce 3 million seedling pots and to establish 150 school tree-plant nurseries that would each accommodate 20,000 seedlings.
3 million seedling pots = 30,000 bags of compost soil + 300 individuals + 30 days at a conservative output of 300 pots per individual.
150 school tree-plant nurseries = 150 communities
The establishment of 150 school tree-plant nurseries would also fuel the bamboo and nipa industry in the locale (for construction of school nurseries).
Also, as Mr. Enojo projects, “aside from the estimated 15,000 individuals directly involved in seedling production alone, a conservative projected estimate of PhP1,050,000 annual income will be shared among farmers 3-5 years after implementation and PhP525,000,000 projected annual income soon after as all tress bear fruits”.
Restore Green Movement has recently been granted the approval to implement this Project by no less than the Honorable Roger G. Mercado, Governor of the Provincial Government of Southern Leyte.
The Restore Green Movement heralds the concerted effort of individuals, groups & organizations, government & non-government units, national & local agencies & offices, schools, churches & various sectoral organizations, businesses & the private sector working together without boundaries, connecting people to environment. (Image credit: Restore Green Movement)