DENR Undersecretary for Field Operations – Mindanao Joselin Marcus E. Fragada, along with Regional Executive Director Nonito M. Tamayo of DENR Caraga, led the Ceremonial Turn-over of 285, 571 seedlings of various tree species and giant bamboo culms, and 76,403 bd. ft. of logs and lumbers to the Province of Dinagat Islands through Governor Arlene “Kaka” J. Bag-ao on April 21, 2022, at the Kalikasang Buhay Park, Brgy. Cuarinta, San Jose, Dinagat Islands.

Armed Forces of the Philippines EastMinCom Commander Lieutenant General Greg T. Almerol, who assisted the DENR in the transport of the donated materials, was present during the turnover to witness the event.  Also present were DENR Caraga OIC-ARD for Technical Services Maritess M. Ocampo, PENR Officer Agapito T. Patubo, PENRO Dinagat personnel, members of the Philippine Army, and the residents of Dinagat Islands.

The DENR Caraga’s donation of the confiscated logs and lumbers is in line with Executive Order No.120, series of 2020 entitled “Strengthening Rehabilitation and Recovery Efforts in Typhoon-hit Areas Through the Creation of the Build Back Better Task Force”, which calls for the rebuilding or repairing of houses that are more resilient to hazards, and build safer sites for housing under the township approach.

The onslaught of Typhoon Odette on December 16, 2021, damaged more than 95% of the residential and public infrastructures in the province of Dinagat Islands. About 14,545 houses were totally damaged, and 15,763 were partially damaged.

“We, at the DENR, will do everything we can to help the people of Dinagat Islands. The donation of these seedlings, logs, and lumbers is just the start of our rehabilitation efforts for this province. We hope that these forest products will help in rebuilding your houses. We will not stop until we see Dinagat thrive again.” USec Fragada said during the program.

The DENR also launched the “Mini-Sawmill on Wheels” project as a response to the disaster caused by Typhoon Odette, in partnership with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) 402nd Brigade on January 14, 2022. The project aims to facilitate the milling of uprooted and felled trees into usable sizes for rehabilitation and rebuilding of the damaged houses in PDI and Surigao del Norte.  As of April 3, 2022, the project has a total lumber production of 64,864.01 bd. ft. in Dinagat Islands.

Aside from rehabilitating the damaged infrastructures, the DENR also aims to help recover the province’s environment, particularly its forests, by donating 285,571 seedlings of various tree species and giant bamboo culms. The agency endeavored to produce these planting materials through the CENR Offices of Nasipit, Bayugan, Bunawan, Cantilan, Lianga, and Loreto; the Mechanized and Modernized Forest Nursery in Bislig City; the Bood Clonal Nursery in Butuan City; and various mining companies namely, Platinum Group Metals Corporation, C.T.P. Construction and Mining Corporation, Carrascal Nickel Corporation, Philsaga Mining Corporation, Taganito Mining Corporation, and Greenstone Resources Corporation.

In her message during the program, Governor Bag-ao expressed her gratitude to all the stakeholders that helped the province in its recovery efforts.

“We would like to express our sincerest gratitude towards the DENR and the Philippine Army for continuously helping us, especially after the onslaught of Typhoon Odette. I always say that the people of Dinagat Islands are all resilient.  We are not victims; we are survivors. In these trying times, we will work hand-in-hand to build an even better Dinagat. We will also use some of the donated confiscated forest products to build 100 community kitchens that will help us provide hot meals for the people of Dinagat. Again, thank you very much,” she said.

The program ended with the three parties, the DENR, the Philippine Army, and the Provincial Government of Dinagat Islands, signing a statement of commitment to work together to implement the rehabilitation and recovery program of the Provincial Government of Dinagat Islands.

The program is under the #BayanihanDinagat initiative and the Build Back Better frameworks, particularly the building of “Angat Buhay sa Kalikasang Buhay Resilient Villages” in the province. ###