By Villamor Visaya Jr., Philippine News Agency Stringer and Philippine Daily Inquirer Correspondent
BAYOMBONG, Nueva Vizcaya – The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in Cagayan Valley has turned over PHP111.8 million worth of infrastructure projects to five local government units (LGUs) in this province.
DENR Regional Executive Director Gwendolyn Bambalan said in an interview Friday that she and provincial chief Giovannie Magat handed the completed agroforestry support facilities (ASF) to Nueva Vizcaya Rep. Luisa Lloren Cuaresma, local officials of Ambaguio, Kayapa, Dupax Del Sur, Dupax Del Norte, and Kasibu, and people’s organizations.
The facilities constructed under the agency’s Forestland Management Project (FMP) are the six irrigation pipeline systems in the villages of Nansiakan, Kayapa and Carolotan in Dupax del Sur, Nantawakan in Kasibu, and Salingsingan in Ambaguio town; pathway in Barangay Bit-nong, Dupax Del Norte; access road in Palabotan, Dupax Del Sur; and two bridges in Canabay, Dupax Del Sur.
Bambalan said the infrastructure projects primarily intend to provide convenient access to the more than 5,000-hectare plantations established by the DENR and people’s organizations under the FMP.
It will also facilitate economic activities as the production of the farmers will be easily transported from the farm to the market.
“While we support your livelihood, we hope you will not forget to conserve and develop our environment,” Bambalan said as she expressed hope that the projects will bridge the partnership among the national government agencies, local government, and the community in the protection and rehabilitation of the forestlands.
Cuaresma expressed her gratitude to the DENR for allocating funds that will improve the lives of her constituents.
“The communities should support the DENR in protecting the environment by not practicing kaingin (slash and burn) farming, joining in the protection against forest fires, and being stewards of the environment,” she said.
For their part, the village chiefs committed to take care of and maintain the infrastructure projects.
One of the village captains recalled how women in his community, including his wife, suffered before actually giving birth due to poor road conditions.
Magat said the infrastructure projects are products of regular consultation with the project implementers and stakeholders.
He encouraged the beneficiaries to continuously maintain their tree plantations to mitigate the impacts of climate change.#