By SALLY A ATENTO
LEGAZPI CITY: The Balik-Probinsiya Program of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Bicol will be bringing home some 500 families from Albay who are now living in Manila slum areas.
This program, according to DENR Bicol regional director Gilbert Gonzales, aims for social recovery and supplementation of the National Greening Program (NGP).
“The program per se has a two pronged approach, one is social recovery and the other is the supplementation of the National Greening Program (NGP),” said Gonzales.
The program beneficiaries including forest occupants in the region will in turn be developing and managing the relocation sites.
Currently, DENR has identified the denuded forestland in barangaysTapel and Nagas in Oas which covers an area of 1,115ha.
This site, according to a report from Albay Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer Imelda Baltazar, will be divided into five clusters with 200 ha per cluster. Each cluster will be managed by 100 families
Among the components of this program are establishment of a nursery suitable for production of livestock, rice and cash crop together with community facilities and infrastructure development such as farm to market road, health center, chapel and residential houses.
“First it will transform more than a thousand hectares into agricultural-silvicultural farming while empowering the recipient community with adequate financial and infrastructural support vis-à-vis the establishment and maintenance of the project area by the 500 household beneficiaries adopting the concept of NGP,” noted Baltazar.
In preparation for its implementation, field personnel from the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (Penro) are currently conducting survey mappings and other planning processes.
“They have been busy laying down the pre-development strategies of the Balik Probinsya Program,” said DENR Bicol director.
This project, added Gonzales, is in tune with the convergence initiative advocated by President Aquino together with other partner agencies such as the departments of Agriculture, Trade and Industry, Agrarian Reform, Social Welfare and Development, Interior and Local Government, Public Works and Highways, and the National Housing Authority. – PIA5