ILOILO City – The National Greening Program (NGP) in Tapaz, Capiz has resumed two weeks after it was suspended.
NGP is a massive forest rehabilitation program.
On March 11, Sampulna suspended the NGP in the areas of indigenous peoples (IP) in Tapaz and Jamindan towns.
The National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) requested the suspension following complaints that the agency’s Capiz Service Center in Tapaz received. NCIP acting regional director Ana Burgos said NGP activities within the IP ancestral domains did not have a Free and Prior Informed Consent (FPIC) from the IPs – a violation of Section 59 of Republic Act 8371 (Indigenous Peoples Rights Act).
According to Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) regional executive director Jim Sampulna yesterday, NCIP agreed that the reforestation be continued while the department is working to secure the FPIC.
While some were against the NGP, many other IPs of Tapaz and Jamindan are banking on the reforestation project for their livelihood. They protested its suspension.
Jordan De Luna, barangay captain of Minan, Tapaz, said the program helped provide livelihood opportunities to his constituents.
NGP is also a mechanism to address climate change, De Luna added.
Over 60 IPs from Tapaz trooped to the regional office of DENR in Iloilo City recently to air their concerns regarding the suspension of NGP in their areas.
DENR was tasked to lead in the implementation of the NGP which originally seeks to grow 1.5 billion trees in 1.5 hectares across the country from 2011 to 2016.
Through Executive Order No. 193, series of 2015, President Aquino extended the implementation of NGP from 2016 to 2028 to cover the remaining 7.1 million hectares./PN
BY GLENDA SOLOGASTOA
April 13, 2016