The Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau (ERDB) together with the 7th Infantry Division (ID) of the Philippine Army and Bacao Ecological Systems and Technologies, Inc. (BESTI) inked the tripartite agreement for the establishment of the 240-ha NGP plantation using indigenous forest tree species inside the Fort Ramon Magsaysay Military Reservation (FRMMR) on September 6, 2016.

The reforestation activity is in compliance with EO 26, the implementation of the National Greening Program (NGP). It is a means to attain biodiversity conservation and protection, poverty reduction, and climate change mitigation and adaptation.

Representatives from the abovementioned parties involved in the agreement were the local government unit (LGU) of Doña Josefa, the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO) of Nueva Ecija, and the planters from the IP community in the barangay attended the event at the Bulwagan ng Katutubo ng Pilipinas, Brgy. Doña Josefa in Palayan City, Nueva Ecija.

The signatories of the agreement, Dir. Henry Adornado (ERDB), Judge Virgilio Caballero (BESTI), and LTC Eugenio Batara (7th ID, Philippine Army) in behalf of MGen Angelito De Leon of the Armed Forces of the Philipppines, expressed their gratitude and full cooperation in the project. Dir. Adornado highlighted that under the expanded and enhanced NGP, provision of food security and additional income to the community will be strengthened by intercropping agricultural crops in the NGP sites where indigenous forest tree species will be planted. He also related the characteristics of the katutubos to the indigenous forest species who are very resilient.

Moreover, Judge Caballero sees the project as an act of stewardship on the environment and as a milestone especially for the IP community who will be involved in plantation establishment. On the other hand, the 7th ID, Philippine Army pledged their full support in securing the project area as well as in screening the laborers who will participate in the plantation. Rio Christine P. Bustamante, NGP OpCen