State-owned Development Bank of the Philippines has signed a memorandum of agreement with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) for the establishment of an indigenous seed source center in Mt. Apo Natural Park in Digos City, Davao del Sur, a top official said.
DBP President and Chief Executive Officer Emmanuel G. Herbosa said the seed center shall serve as a storage facility of endemic species from the forests of Mt. Apo Natural Park and other neighboring forests in Mindanao for seed banking and propagation.
“The establishment of this seed center is a vital component of the DBP Seedbank Project, our Corporate Social Responsibility initiative that seeks to preserve the genetic diversity of Philippine Native Trees,” Herbosa said.
DBP is the fifth largest bank in the country in terms of assets and has a branch network of 131 branches and 14 branch-lite units. It provides credit support to four strategic sectors of the economy – infrastructure and logistics; micro, small and medium enterprises; environment; social services and community development.
Under the agreement, DBP would provide start-up funding for 20 DENR-accredited organizations for the collection of native seeds and wildlings, as well as for germination and propagation, with DENR handling capacity building for project participants as well as seed storage and accrediting partner-communities for seed collection and production.
Herbosa said planting materials from the seed center would be transported to the DBP Seedbank Nursery, located in the Department of Agriculture – Bureau of Plant Industry Bago Oshiro compound in Davao City, adding that, “these materials would eventually be sold to local government units (LGUs), other government agencies and private sector buyers.
DBP Director and DBP Seedbank Project champion Maria Lourdes A. Arcenas said the project is a testament to the concerted efforts of government agencies, LGUs, organized upland communities, and the private sector to support the government’s Expanded National Greening Program which aims to promote food security, environmental stability, biodiversity conservation, and enhance climate change mitigation and adaptation.
She said DBP would continue to work with various development partners to enhance the capacities of rural communities in preserving the forest landscape while providing them with livelihood opportunities.
‘’As we encourage the establishment of agri-forestry enterprises to further boost business activity in rural economies, we also promote the DBP mindset of integrating environmental considerations in business decisions, asset management and operations towards sustained growth,” Arcenas said.