The Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) honored outstanding partners of its DBP Forest Program, a corporate social responsibility project that aims to protect and restore green cover in critical forest sites through the planting of high value fruit trees, last October 5 at the DBP head office in Makati City.
The bank cited three deserving forest partners whose projects have provided sound socio-economic impact as well as environmental enhancement to the project sites community.
The University of the Philippines-Los Baños was awarded the first prize with a cash award of Fifty Thousand Pesos. The partnership forest project has a total of 400 hectares planted with high value forest trees and other high value fruit and medicinal trees. The project sites have already formed a new forest stand or a rehabilitated tropical forest and resulted in improved climate, regulated water cycle, and propagation of several wildlife species. The project serves as a living laboratory for students and researchers, and a venue for tree planting activities and eco-trail walks for mountaineers, hikers, and other tourists.
Palawan State University was awarded the second prize with a cash award of Thirty Thousand Pesos. The 157-hectare upland project is planted with various fruit trees, rubber, abaca, indigenous and medicinal trees in partnership with indigenous peoples, the Palaweòos. Through the project, indigenous people have been employed and trained as forest workers and rubber tappers. The project has also convinced the local government unit to build a farm to market road.
Abaca is already harvested and processed while 2,500 kilograms of dried fiber is ready for shipment. Latex harvesting from rubber trees and semi processing have started last year. The project has also encouraged neighboring communities to plant rubber trees and abaca on their own.
The city government of Tagum was awarded the third prize with a cash award of Twenty Thousand Pesos. The 10-hectare mangrove plantation of the City of Tagum which are growing robustly now serves as a buffer zone that prevent soils erosion, traps solid wastes, and also serves as a windbreak that protects the community from typhoons. The mangroves enhanced and increased the fishery resources in the city that provide increased income for fisherfolks. The Tangkuan River where these mangroves are planted has become an ecotourism destination for river cruises. These planted trees likewise improved the climatic condition of the city as manifested by the decrease of its annual average temperature from 27.03 degrees in 2008 to 26.89 degrees in 2012 as cited by PAGASA.
The DBP Forest Program was borne out of the bank’s response to the flash floods and resulting tragedy that occurred in Infanta, Quezon in 2004. The program has grown today to encompass 44 projects nationwide that has helped plant 4.97 million trees in 5,400 hectares benefiting the communities around these forest and coastal areas and involves partnerships with peoples’ organizations, state universities and colleges, local government units, and other stakeholders.