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PIA Press Release

1,800 Western Visayas upland areas to yield CLEEP benefits

by Jemin B. Guillermo

Roxas City (24 February) -- About 2,479 hectares of forest land and mangrove areas in Western Visayas will be planted with forest and fruit tree seedlings as well as high value cash crops.

With the reforestation and agroforestry components of the Upland Development Program (UDP) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the government will be creating job opportunities to 52,425 upland farmers.

Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Lito Atienza in a news release disclosed that the short-term employment for upland families is part of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's directive to provide income-generating services through the Comprehensive Livelihood and Emergency Employment Program (CLEEP).

The UDP is one of the two major components of the DENR-CLEEP. The other one is the Bantay Gubat (BG) project.

Under the BG project, where job opportunities will be opened to 59,111 qualified upland residents who will work as forest guards, with a monthly pay of P3,000, Western Visayas has a target area of 1,809 hectares for the said project.

In totality, some 111,536 green collar jobs for upland families will be created by the government, Atienza said.

Meanwhile, Forest Management Services Chief Edwin Borja of DENR Capiz disclosed that their office here is targeting this year 471 hectares for upland reforestation which will be implemented in the Community Based Forest Management Projects here, particularly in Jamindan, Capiz.

He pointed out that the upland reforestation covers the planting of trees in denuded forests, assisted regeneration as well as agroforestry.

Borja explained that with said activity, employment will not only be provided to upland farmers to alleviate poverty but environmental protection will be ensued, particularly on the restoration of vegetative forest cover, slowing down of climate change as well as watershed rehabilitation. (PIA) [top]

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