DENR-ARMM, Upi town sign MOA on forest stewardship

May 21, 2009 2:42 am 

COTABATO CITY, May 20 – The Department of Environment and Natural Resources–Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (DENR)-ARMM and the local government of Upi, Maguindanao have inked a memorandum of agreement (MOA) on Forest Land Use Plan (FLUP) and co-management of the forest lands in the municipality.

The project is a program of the DENR in cooperation with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through its Ecological Governance (EcoGov) Program. DENR-ARMM Secretary Kabuntalan P. Emblawa and Upi Municipal Mayor Ramon A. Piang, Sr. signed the MOA last May 18 at the Estosan Garden Hotel here.

The event was witnessed by DENR-ARMM officials, municipal and barangay officials from Upi, provincial environment officers from Maguindanao, representatives from the Ecological Governance Program of the USAID and media practitioners.

DENR-ARMM Assistant Secretary Alindatu K. Pagayao said that the FLUP is in pursuance of Muslim Mindanao Act 161 or the Regional Sustainable Forest Management Act (RSFMA) to enhance the ecological and environmental functions of the forest lands in Upi while increasing its resource capacity to support the sustainable livelihood and biodiversity of Upians.

“It will also be the basis for protecting, managing, utilizing and developing the forests and forest lands,” Pagayao said.

He said the program would cover 20,000 hectares of forestlands in 23 barangays in the municipality.

He added that natives were also consulted through representatives in the program to strengthen the participation of the people in the grassroots level.

Emblawa said that Upi is only the second LGU in the ARMM to have completed and duly legitimized its FLUP through its Sangguniang Bayan. He said that the first municipality to complete and implement its FLUP is Wao which had received a P3.9-million funding for the program.

“I would like to thank the USAID-EcoGov program for this strong support, with the hope that there would be more LGUs that would benefit from this project,” Emblawa said.

Piang said this project would greatly help the sustainable management and protection of the forest lands in their town.

He said the forest lands cover five major watersheds in the area which includes Dimapatoy watershed which is the source of water in Cotabato City.

“This will also provide a venue for our grassroots in the co-management of our forests and forest lands. They will be assisted with livelihood programs without cutting the trees,” the mayor stressed. (PNA)

LAP/NYP/Joy P. Dimakiling/jmd

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