The hard labor of IP communities bore fruit as the 246.2-ha land of Fort Ramon Magsaysay Military Reservation (FRMMR) in Nueva Ecija is successfully planted with indigenous forest tree species.

A total of 86 workers benefitted from this project initiated by the Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau (ERDB), 7th Infantry Division (ID), Philippine Army, and Bacao Ecological Systems and Technologies, Inc. (BESTI) in compliance with EO 26, the implementation of the National Greening Program (NGP) whose implementation is extended until 2028 under EO 193. It is a means to attain biodiversity conservation and protection, poverty reduction, and climate change mitigation and adaptation.This initiative is also in line with DENR Secretary Regina Lopez’s vision of expanded and enhanced NGP to create meaningful impact to the lives of communities through involvement of different civil societies, strengthening food security, and provision of livelihood. After completing the plantation establishment, the ERDB thru BESTI will encourage the IP communities to do intercropping to support their food requirement.

The residents within and nearby FRMMR, the kapampangans together with various IP communities: Aeta, Igorot, Dumagat, worked hand-in-hand to accomplish the plantation establishment under the supervision of the ERDB team. Indigenous forest tree species such as laneteng-gubat, kalumpit, lipote, bignai, kupang, malugai, lamug, narra, Philippine ash, igyo, dita, supa, akleng-parang, alibangbang, tangisang-bayawak, tuai, malapapaya, banuyo, magabuyo, and molave now cover the vast 246.2-ha of land of FRMMR traversing Brgy. Langka in Palayan City and Brgy. Nauzon in Laur. The plantation activities started on September 2016 and are completed by December 14, 2016. Ninety percent (90%) of planting materials survival rate was observed; thus, maintenance and replanting activities are to be done in the remaining weeks of this year. Maintenance and patrolling will commence at the start of 2017 to ensure the survival of the indigenous forest tree species. Rio Christine P. Bustamante, NGP OpCen