Fruit seedlings ready for Siargao 'greening'

By Eugenio Lira, Jr.

SURIGAO CITY - More than 14,000 pieces of various fruit seedlings arrived on Tuesday, September 10, for subsequent distribution to recipient towns for the 'greening' of Siargao Island.

Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer Zaldy Perater said the fruit seedlings will be distributed to eight municipalities comprising Siargao Island, namely, Dapa, Socorro, Del Carmen, San Benito, Pilar, Burgos, San Isidro and Santa Monica, in line with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources' National Greening Program (NGP) and the provincial government's thrust in providing alternative livelihood activities for indigent families.

"This is the first batch of three batches of fruit seedlings ready for distribution to eight towns of Siargao Island. We have four varieties, namely, mangosteen, jackfruit, lanzones and guyabano. Once fully grown, these fruit trees can also help enhance the island’s forest stock to absorb carbon dioxide which is largely blamed for global warming," Perater said.

He said the National Greening Program (NGP) was launched in 2011 by virtue of Executive Order No. 26 issued by President Benigno Aquino III as it targeted to grow 1.5 billion trees in 1.5 million hectares nationwide within a period of six years, from 2011 to 2006.

"Aside from livelihood purposes, NGP is a climate change mitigation strategy through reforestation. We’re glad the provincial government is very receptive and has identified Siargao Island as our pilot area," Perater stressed.

Governor Sol Matugas said that aside from livelihood purposes, the fruit seedlings will be planted as part of the beautification program and landmark of every town in Siargao in line with her administration's initiative to promote the island as one of the major tourism destinations in Asia.

"These fruit seedlings will be planted on the roadsides and each town would only choose one kind of variety they want to grow and they want to be identified with. It’s just like the OTOP or 'One Town, One Product' program which the provincial government is promoting as part of our livelihood and tourism campaigns," the governor concluded.

Perater has turned-over the fruit seedlings to Siargao community environment officer Iñigo Collantes. He was assisted by forest ranger Almond Edera and environment officer Lopercio Bentoso. (FEA/Eugenio Lira, Jr.)

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