DENR allots 86,000 hectares for coffee plantation under NGP; Paje says mining EO practices “intergenerational equity” and Paje sacks 31 officials due to unabated illegal logging
Posted on July 13th By Department of Environment and Natural Resources
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is allotting some 86,000 hectares of upland areas for development into coffee plantations under the National Greening Program (NGP).
This was stressed today by DENR Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje saying the inclusion of coffee as among the high-value crops that will be planted under the NGP is in keeping with the food security objective of the program.
“The National Greening Program is not solely reforestation but it is also conceived to boost food production, and coffee is one crop that we know we can be self sufficient by putting more government inputs to local coffee farming through the National Convergence Initiative (NCI),” Paje said.
According to Paje, of the 86,000 hectares allotted for coffee farming, around 25,000 hectares are located in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR); 12,000 hectares in Region 2 and 10,000 hectares in Region 12.
Regions 3, 4A, 4B and 11 have 5,000 hectares each; Regions 5,7 and 8 have 4,000 hectares each (Regions 5, 7 and 8); 2, 000 hectares each for Regions 9 and 10); and 1,000 hectares each for Regions 2, 6 and 13.
Last year, Paje said that some 2,554 hectares have been planted with 1.5 million coffee seedlings under the NGP.
NCI is a complementary mechanism that combines DENR’s resources and expertise with those of DA and DAR to achieve sustainable rural growth.
“NGP’s efforts to energize the local coffee industry complements DA and DAR’s strides to enable our local farmers to turn to high value crops like coffee and eventually remove the need for imported coffee beans, mostly from Indonesia and Vietnam, to meet local demand,” Paje said.
Paje expressed optimism that the areas identified will have a substantial input to the government’s effort to replace its coffee importation which, in 2010, already stood at 26,600 metric tons per data of the DA-Philippine Agricultural Development and Commercial Corp. (PADCC).
Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Ramon Paje today said that he thinks the new mining policy is a practice in “intergenerational equity” and called it a “hallmark of sustainable development policy of the government.”
Paje said that Executive Order (EO) No. 79, which institutionalizes and implements reforms in the country’s mining sector, considers both economic growth and the environment in its provisions. “It is a balanced law. It allows an extractive industry for national development without sacrificing the environment. At the same time, it shows that we can go for ecological conservation without stifling economic growth,” he stated.
He said that the EO addresses the twin issues of economic and sustainable development through the moratorium on granting new mineral agreements, and through the imposition of revenue-raising measures. This is why the proposed Mining Industry Coordinating Council would be co-chaired by the chairpersons of the cabinet clusters on climate change adaptation and mitigation, and on economic development.
Paje called as “disadvantageous” what government currently gets from the two per cent excise tax on mining activities, considering that minerals are finite, non-renewable resources. If government continued to sign new contracts that are on a 25-year term and renewable for another 25 years, it would “compromise future generations by depriving them of their share of the country’s natural wealth.”
The only way to balance this, he said, is for government to optimize revenues and benefits from mining, and invest these in future generations, such as through infrastructure and construction of school buildings. The revenues would come from increased taxes and imposition of royalties “for government to have a share in what the government actually owns.”
Paje added that the EO will prove that “mining can co-exist with other industries, such as tourism” with the provision on a mining ban in 78 ecotourism sites nationwide identified under the National Tourism Development Plan.
He also noted how the EO has set the bar on improving environmental standards, with provisions on banning the use of mercury, as well as reiteration of limiting small-scale mining activities in declared “minahang bayan” areas as provided for under Republic Act 7076 or the People’s Small-Scale Mining Act. A “minahang bayan” would ensure that conflicts with other tenements would be avoided, and would limit haphazard diggings and contain mining wastes that may be detrimental to the health of the community and the environment.
In line with these, the environment chief hoped that the 15th Congress would pass the necessary legislations to amend current mining policies, especially those related to revenue-sharing, incentive mechanisms, and penalties. “We hope Congress would understand that we need this kind of policy so that we would not be committing the country and future generations for what is actually a wrong contract between the government and the mining industry,” he said.
If the current congress would not be able to pass the legislations in view of the upcoming local elections, Paje said that he would propose to President Aquino “to certify the bill as urgent or a priority by the next congress.”
Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje today relieved 30 officials of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) for their failure to stop illegal logging.
“It’s been a year and four months since President Aquino ordered a logging ban, yet we continue to receive reports of log confiscations in thousand pieces,” Paje said.
Paje identified the relieved regional officials as follows: Region 13 Executive Director Leonardo Sibbaluca and Region 11 Executive Director Jim Sampulna; Region 13 Regional Technical Director (RTD) for Forestry Musa Saruang, Region 11 RTD for Forestry Hardinado Patnugot, and Region 11 Forest Resources Conservation Division OIC chief Claudio V. Jumao-as.
Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer (PENRO) –Agusan del Norte Rosendo Asunto, PENRO-Agusan del Sur Belo Udarbe and PENRO-Surigao del Sur Domingo Cabrera, Jr.
PENRO-Davao del Norte Marcia Isip, PENRO Davao Oriental Gregorio Lagura, and PENRO-Compostela Valley Julius Valdez.
Also sacked were Community Environment and Natural Resources Officer (CENRO)-Butuan City/Nasipit Vicente Sembrano, CENRO-Tubay/Cabadbaran Elvin Indig, CENRO-Bayugan Ruel Efren, CENRO-Bunawan Jerome Tadem, CENRO-Loreto Alberto Bacanaya, CENRO-San Francisco Marlon Gelingo, CENRO-Talacogon Eufracio Subayno; CENRO- Cantilan Mario Tioaquen, CENRO-Bislig Ferdinand Alba, CENRO-Lianga Jose Mario Reyes, and CENRO-Tandag Rogelio Montenegro.
CENROs from Region 11 who were likewise relieved of their posts were CENRO-Davao City (West) Napoleon Paje, Davao City (East) Melchor Ozaraga, CENRO-Baganga Robinson Camacho, CENRO-Lupon Basilio Caralos, CENRO-Mati Restituta Dime, CENRO-Manay Dioscor Gavarra, CENRO-Maco Marvin Parilla, CENRO-Monkayo Victor Billones, and CENRO-Nabunturan Antonio Inguillo.
President Aquino in February 2011 issued Executive Order No. 23 declaring a moratorium on the cutting or harvesting of timber in natural and secondary forests nationwide. Under the order, an anti-illegal logging task force was likewise created to ensure the successful implementation of the logging ban, comprising of the secretaries of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), Department of National Defense (DND), chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, chief of the Philippine National Police, with the DENR secretary as chairman.
Paje said the relief of the officials is part of the continuing effort in pursuit of good governance in DENR.
As of May 2012, a total of 32 employees were dismissed/suspended, 34 were charged of various offenses, while 176 were under investigation.
Tags: coffee plantation
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