The collaboration between the Department of Environment and Natural Resources Region 6 and Land Bank of the Philippines, Iloilo City Branch to rehabilitate five hectares of open and degraded watershed areas within Brgy. Caboloan and Lampaya, Leon, Iloilo was sealed through a memorandum of agreement signed on March 2, 2017.   

This three-year initiative is part of Land Bank’s “Gawad Sibol Program” which is the third phase of the Adopt-A-Watershed Program partnership between the DENR and the LBP and involves planting of trees mainly fruit-bearing species to serve as additional source of income for upland dwellers. It is also the Bank’s contribution to the DENR’s National Greening Program and supports the rehabilitation of the Maasin Watershed which is the source of drinking, industrial and irrigation water for Iloilo City.

The Land Bank has committed among others, to set aside P93, 500.00 for the completion of the Program; engage the local community within the adopted area in all phases of rehabilitation, maintenance and protection activities; ensure that activities implemented would adhere to environmental protection and rehabilitation measures for watersheds as prescribed by the DENR.

As part of the tripartite agreement of the Program, the Bucari Eco-Planters Association (BEPA), the people’s organization in the area, shall implement various activities stipulated in the development plan with the supervision of the DENR and the LBP to include maintenance, enhancement and protection of the area for the benefit of all concerned even beyond termination of the agreement.  Also, it shall not cut, extract or harvest naturally-grown trees and other natural resources within the project area nor sublease, convey, sell or transfer its rights to the area to any third parties.

The DENR among others, shall jointly formulate in coordination with BEPA, a rehabilitation plan for the designated area with consideration of the over-all management plan of the tenurial instrument; provide necessary technical assistance to ensure success of the Program; identify suitable forest species for planting in the adopted areas; conduct regular monitoring and evaluation of the project as well as evaluation and validation of activities of PO based on the Work and Financial Plan.

Mr. Hansen W. Chu, AVP/Head, Iloilo Branch signed the MOA for the LBP while Mr. Evan C. Calaor , PO Chairman  signed for  BEPA and PENR Officer  Raul L. Lorilla signed for DENR PENRO Iloilo. A Ceremonial Tree Planting at Brgy. Lampaya followed the agreement signing.