DENR to create 111,536 ‘green’ jobs

Published by rudy Date posted on February 20, 2009

MANILA, Philippines – Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Lito Atienza said yesterday the DENR is budgeting P2.5 billion to create 111,536 “green collar” jobs as its contribution to President Arroyo’s Comprehensive Livelihood and Emergency Employment Program or CLEEP.

In a press conference, Atienza said that the DENR would allot P1.5 billion to hire 51,000 families in upland areas as part of its reforestation and upland development program.

Another P1 billion would be allotted for a “Bantay Gubat” project that would employ 110,000 families who would guard against “kaingin” practices and cutting of trees.

The two programs, Atienza said, would be focused in 11 impoverished provinces. “The Upland Development Program and the Bantay Gubat Project,” Atienza explained, “form part of President Arroyo’s endeavor to provide green collar jobs to society’s most vulnerable sectors by giving them access to short-term employment opportunities, which in turn, will give them economic resiliency to respond to the anticipated adverse impacts of the ongoing worldwide economic downturn.”

Under the UDP component, Atienza said, around 52,425 upland farmers would be hired as workers to plant forest and fruit tree seedlings, including high-value cash crops.

“Under the UDP component, we have set aside 49,318 hectares of upland areas and around 2,000 hectares of mangrove areas, where reforestation and agroforestry activities would be undertaken by upland families.”

Under the BG component, on the other hand, Atienza said 59,111 qualified upland residents would be hired as forest guards, with a monthly pay of P3,000.

“The task of the Bantay Gubat would be to conduct foot patrol to detect timber poaching while monitoring for any sign of forest fire. They would also be tapped in collecting seeds while on patrol,” Atienza said.

Each BG would be allotted an area of 342 hectares to monitor, bringing to a total of 6.2 million hectares of forest lands placed under the BG project.

Atienza explained the DENR-CLEEP is a four-pronged approach to creating emergency work in the uplands as it addresses forest protection and rehabilitation of watersheds and mangrove areas, while opening up job opportunities for income generation and food and crop production.

For its UDP’s agroforestry scheme, each farmer will be given a hectare to develop for a fee of P3,270 per month to plant cash crops.

Projected earnings are expected to reach around P23,270 per year from the sale of their produce.

Participants to UDP’s reforestation scheme would be awarded a hectare each to plant and maintain trees suitable to the area. Each worker would get as much as P19,400 to defray the cost and services for seedling production (P8,500) and planting and maintenance (P10,900).- Marianne V. Go, Philippine Star

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