Following the reforestation gains of the National Greening Program that gave the Philippines international recognition with the Food and Agriculture Organization’s Global Forest Resources Assessment for CY 2015 as 5th worldwide in having the greatest forest area gain, President Benigno S. Aquino III on November 12, 2015 signed Executive Order No. 193 expanding the coverage of the NGP.
The signing and issuance of the EO came on the heels of the recently-concluded Community-Based Forest Management-National Greening Program Congress held at the World Trade Congress on October 29, 2015 that was attended by some 2,000 peoples’ organizations (POs), non-government organizations (NGOs), partners and other stakeholders. In the same event, PO beneficiaries expressed appreciation of the NGP in paving the way for improving their socio-economic conditions. They also gave thanks to the President for its launch in 2011 and appealed for NGP continuation beyond 2016.
The coverage of the NGP is being expanded in the wake of the remaining estimated 7.1 million hectares of unproductive, denuded and degraded forestlands as well as the threat of climate change. The period of implementation of the expanded NGP shall be from 2016 until 2028.
To hasten the rehabilitation of these unproductive, denuded and degraded areas, the government shall engage the “participation and investment of the private sector for private companies to achieve carbon neutrality.”
Under the Expanded NGP, forest development activities shall be harmonized including development of forest plantations, forest parks, etc. to be undertaken by the private sector, local government units and organized upland communities.
The same strong collaboration of the government with various sectors under the NGP launched in 2011 resulted in the greening of a total of 1.2 million hectares with 766 million seedlings surpassing the combined 1.19 million hectares reforestation accomplishment for four decades of previous administrations. With a forest cover of just 6.8 million hectares in 2011, it has now reached 8 million hectares. The expanse of area reforested is capable of some 30 million tons of carbon sequestered per year. The NGP likewise has employed about 355,405 persons with a total of 2.51 million jobs generated from 2011 to July 2015.