BMZ-ASB Project Supports Gattaran Local Government Unit (LGU), Communities Reforestation Efforts in the Philippines
Most trees start from a tiny seed – and with the right amount of sunlight, water, and proper nurturing, they could produce fruits in 3 to 5 years. However, extreme heat and powerful typhoons make it harder to grow trees because of climate change. Moreover, clearing forest lands to pave the way for urbanization further exacerbates environmental degradation.
Gattaran is a coastal municipality in Cagayan, Philippines, that was greatly devastated by Typhoon Ulysses (international name Vamco) in November 2020. When the typhoon hit the municipality, hectares of unharvested crops were submerged and destroyed. Even livestock drowned in neck-high flood, homes and furniture were damaged, leaving many families displaced in evacuation shelters. The aid delivery was delayed due to roads being fully submerged in flood. The effect of the typhoon is also magnified by other already present problems such as the African Swine Flu (ASF) virus and the COVID-19 pandemic.
With the compounded destruction of these hazards, the municipality, with support from the “Improved Adaptation of At-risk Coastal Communities in Indonesia and the Philippines”, decided to mitigate these negative impacts through planting endemic trees such as narra and acacia, and fruit-bearing trees such as mandarin. On May 26, through the facilitation of Assistance and Cooperation for Community Resilience and Development (ACCORD) Inc., and in partnership with the local government unit of Gattaran, the project provided seedlings of fruit-bearing trees and other nurseries materials.
The action supports the municipality’s existing efforts to maintain a nursery located in Barangay Centro Sur, which is also considered a protected area, soon to be developed as a Municipal Tree Park.
The activity was joined by the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (MDRRMO) and Municipal Environment and Natural Resources (MENRO), with its head Mr Jefferson C. Tamayo.
There were also representatives from the Municipal Planning and Development Office (MPDO) and Municipal General Service Office (MGSO).
“Dati ket bala ti paltog ti nakaimula dita igid ti banbantay tatta detuyen a ti pagrugiyan mi nga agpaado ti seedlings ta agmula kami dituyen. (Before, bullets were planted in these mountains, but now we will plant these seedlings as we renew and develop this place),” said Tamayo, while tending to the delivered seedlings.
The parcel of land was a firing range facility in 2018 and was developed as the municipal nursery.
2,400 seedlings were turned over, including four (4) fruits such as mandarin, satsuma, calamansi, and rambutan. Maintenance of the nursery will also be supported by the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), who will ensure water rationing at the municipal nursery three times a week.
“Dakkel ti tulong na daytoy naited yu nga seedlings kanyami. (These seedlings will really help us),” Tamayo added.
Seedlings provided will jumpstart what Gattaran has, boost propagation and production of fruit-bearing trees in the municipality, and benefit partner barangays of the BMZ-ASB project.
A few years ago, the municipality tried to plant “lubeg” (local cherry variant) to spearhead their wine industry, but that failed when they were burned for “kaingin” (charcoal making).
Other efforts include planting mangoes as part of the national greening program, but those trees were burned, too. While fire trees planted along the national road were destroyed by Typhoon Lawin (international name Haima) in 2016.
Along with their hopes of reforesting their protected areas, the municipality is also committed to advocating for trees’ importance to avoid these environmentally destructive practices.
Tamayo added that one of the Local Government Unit or LGU’s strategies is to mainstream environmental protection and preservation policies in their municipal development plan. And with including communities in activities such as managing the seedling nursery and tree planting, the local government is gaining allies among its constituents.
The tree-planting activity is part of the overall program to increase Gattaran’s resilience against the impacts of disasters and climate change. Reforestation and ecosystem management activities help prevent disastrous floods and landslides from reoccurring. The project has supported 3 municipalities in Cagayan province to establish and maintain municipal nurseries. This project also aimed to vitalize ecosystem reforestation efforts among community members.
Written by: ACCORD
Edited by: Husna Yuni Wulansari (Communication and Information Coordinator, ASB Indonesia and the Philippines)