By Herzon F. Gallego
BUTUAN CITY – Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is transforming a depress town into an income-generating site to improve the lives of the people.
The Undersecretary (DENR) for Policy and Planning Marlo D. Mendoza on Friday has met the different stakeholders involved in the implementation of the Area Management Program in Cantilan, Surigao del Sur to evaluate on available resources, as well as the needs, requirements, and basis in determining livelihood opportunities of the people in that town.
He said the output of the initial plan that was made by the community leaders for the implementation of Sustainable Integrated Area Development (SIAD) in their area is being reviewed by the top management to pave way for the creation of a provincial technical working group and later into a regional technical working committee which will oversee the operational activities of the AMP in Cantilan and the Dinagat province.
He said the DENR Secretary Gina Lopez is closely monitoring the progress of the AMP with high hopes that Cantilan town and Dinagat province among other sites in the country will be transformed through the project as self-sustaining in a well-protected environment and with people “happy” because they are free from hunger and poverty.
“The AMP will provide alternative sources that promote the preservation of the environment and natural resources” USec Mendoza said.
He said the DENR has shifted the implementation of its social-justice-inspired programs in the countryside where the towns of Cantilan and Carrascal and the Dinagat province in Caraga Region have been considered as pilot areas among the 29 provinces nationwide for the Area Management Program.
A second round of planning workshop is expected over the next few days with the participation of the provincial technical working group to be represented by the different stakeholders and the IP members.
“The first output of the program is now being reviewed by the top management at the DENR Central Office” he said during the meeting with the different stakeholders and community leaders held at the CENRO Cantilan Social Hall on December 9, 2016. USEC Mendoza was accompanied by DENR-13 Regional Director Nonito M. Tamayo; Assistant Regional Director for Technical Services Roberto A. Oliveros; Assistant Regional Director for Management Services Engr. Pacquito D. Melicor, Jr.; and OIC, PENR Officer of Surigao del Sur Jose Flavio Concha.
USec Mendoza said the SIAD seeks to improve the lives of the marginal farmers and fishermen living in the coastal area. He said the project likewise would promote social justice that enhances and improves the lives of the people which the DENR Secretary Gina Lopez is determined to implement.
“Through the SIAD we hope to improve the income of the farmers and fishermen through the enhanced National Greening Program” he said.
Some projects that were implemented under the NGP from 2011-2016 with minimal impact on the lives of the people need to be changed with effective integrated approach to manifest in the lives of the people.
“DENR wants to see the members of the farmers and fishermen of different organization as entrepreneurs and not as mere suppliers of raw materials”, he said.
“We want to have an active participation of the stakeholders in the program not as planters but social enterprise operators with the support of the Department of Agriculture, Department of Agrarian Reform and the DENR.
USec Mendoza shared some strategies that the stakeholders may consider in the second-round of planning activities to improve their lives under the SIAD which are the following.
1. The DENR and other government agencies involved should direct the issue on social justice which means that “those who work hard must be rewarded with the produce he reaps from the land he cultivates”.
2. The use of appropriate technology in farming such as the application of contour farming method to prevent soil erosion.
3. It should be a holistic plan from ridge to reef to preserve the natural grown forest.
4. The importance of convergence of all sectors in the community and linkage with the other government agencies for the success of the project must also be considered.
USec Mendoza said everyone in the community must have the knowledge of social enterprise in which the farmer and the middlemen take control of the business or project. They should plan out which social enterprise is best applicable in their organization.
The DENR through the AMP has identified 29 priority areas under this program, 13 in Luzon, 6 in Visayas, and 10 in Mindanao. The priority areas that were identified in Mindanao are Sarangani, Cantilan, Dinagat, South Upi, Marilog, Mt. Hamiguitan-Mat-i, Tatalingog in Davao del Norte, Rajah Buayan, Tawi-tawi, and Lanao del Sur. (HFG)
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