The Biodiversity, Coastal, Wetlands and Ecotourism Research Center (BCWERC) of the Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau (ERDB) turned over the reins of protecting and managing the Babatngon Clonal Nursery Facilities to DENR Regional Office 8 in a turnover ceremony held at the Eastern Visayas Regional Tree Propagation Complex and Training Center (EVRTPCTC) in Busay, Babatngon, Leyte on February 22, 2018. The event was hosted by BCWERC headed by Center Head Dr. Alicia L. Lustica and attended in by DENR Region 8 Assistant Regional Director for Technical Services, For. Morakie P. Domanday. The two signed as witnesses in the Document of Transfer and Acceptance. Present in the event were BCWERC’s For. Emma Germano and staff, Office of the Regional NGP Coordinator headed by PENRO Ricardo Tomol, DENR-CDD Chief, Dr. Eugenia Bautista, and representatives of the Regional Public Affairs Office and General Services Section/Supply Unit. DENR Region 8 Regional Director, Atty. Crizaldy Barcelo and ERDB Director Dr. Henry Adornado, principal signatories of the Turnover Certificate will still affix their signatures to confirm legitimacy of the transfer.

Dr. Lustica expressed that the turnover was a long time coming as ERDB has been mulling the request for transfer since early 2017. She informed the group that the DENR has streamlined its research structure establishing research centers, whose areas of excellence are responsive to the needs of the DENR per region. This prompted ERDB management to turn over the management of the clonal nursery facilities nationwide to the DENR. Dr. Lustica, however, assured the DENR regional management that the task of ERDB-BCWERC with respect to production of cloned planting materials under the National Greening Program does not end with the turnover as ERDB-BCWERC is available to provide technical assistance. She stressed however, that the building, which houses the conference and training center, laboratory, and dormitory remains under the ERDB management.

ARD Domanday expressed enthusiasm in his acceptance of the clonal nursery management and he mentioned that the regional management still has to decide which particular office will manage the nursery and pursue the clonal production activities. Lamenting on the non-inclusion of the EVRTPCTC building in the turnover, he stressed that the region may have to make arrangements with the ERDB for the use of sleeping quarters for workers who will be assigned in the clonal nursery.

The turnover ceremony culminated in a tour of the clonal nursery complex. Included in the turnover are the management, maintenance, and protection of 2 macrosomatic clonal chambers, 1 recovery facility, and 24 hedge gardens or ramet multiplication gardens of dipterocarps and other indigenous species. Transfer also included the elevated and concrete hardening beds, 2 seed processing units, water facility, tools needed for the production of quality planting materials, and 24,500 pieces of assorted plantable cloned planting materials of dipterocarp and other indigenous species. Likewise, included were the technology on macro-vegetative propagation of Kalantas and Yakal, the protocol development in 2001 by the former ERDS, largely used for mass production of the planting materials in the clonal nursery, and 200 copies of IEC materials/technology on mycorrhizal application developed by ERDB, recommended for use in the NGP implementation. Letecia A. Corregidor, BCWERC