Errol Abada Gatumbato

The national greening program


The author at the community-managed nursery in Polillo, Quezon. This initiative is supported by the Institute of Social Order*

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources intends to plant 1.5 billion trees covering at least 1.5 million hectares all throughout the country in the next six years beginning this 2011, a target which is quite ambitious given the limited financial resources poured by the national government on forest rehabilitation related measures. Moreover, the DENR has yet to show more concrete and success stories in as much that several foreign assisted reforestation initiatives, like the Asian Development Bank funded contract reforestation project, did not prosper very well. But just the same, let us give benefit of the doubt to this pronouncement contained in recently issued Memorandum Circular 2011-01 by Acting DENR Secretary Ramon Paje. DENR MC 2011-01 is the implementing guideline of the national greening program, which was launched by virtue of Executive Order 26 approved by President Benigno S. Aquino III. The DENR is tasked to lead the program implementation that also seeks to involve other government institutions and non-government organizations in massive greening activities, particularly in highly deforested areas in the different regions of the Philippines. “The guidelines were crafted in such manner as to ensure that all greening activities, whether by the government, local government units or by the private sector, will contribute to the objectives of the program, like poverty reduction, food security, biodiversity conservation and climate change mitigation and adaptation”, Paje disclosed in a press release.

The use of native species for forest rehabilitation is encouraged*

The target of the DENR will cover about 100,000 hectares this year and it will be increased to 250,000 by 2012 until the targeted reforestation of 1.5 million hectares of the national greening program shall be achieved during the term of President Aquino. According to Paje, the reforestation target for this year will include 60,000 hectares within the community-managed forestlands, 20,000 hectares in protected areas, and another 20,000 in ancestral domains. Other areas specified in EO 26, such as civil and military reservations, urban areas identified by local governments, river and stream banks, and abandoned mining sites, shall similarly be placed under the national greening program. In implementing the greening program, not only tree species but also fruit-bearing trees shall be planted in consonance with the government’s thrust for food security. Dipterocarp and other premium and indigenous species shall be used as planting materials. However, exotic species, such as mahogany, gmelina, bagras, acacia and rubber, may also be planted. Although MC 2011-01 did not specifically provides the objective of exotic tree species plantation, is it probably intended for production purposes.  Bamboos and mangrove species shall also be tapped as reforestation crops, particularly in river banks and coastal areas, to control soil erosion and as buffer against wave action.

While this recent development seems very encouraging, it is quite puzzling how this shall actually be implemented because the DENR has inadequate financial and human resources to carry out this massive greening program. If the DENR shall allocate a conservative of Php 10,000 for every hectare, it needs some Php 15 billion in the next six years to implement the 1.5 million hectares greening program or roughly Php 2.5 billion a year. This is a very conservative estimate because in the past the DENR has even allocated about Php 15,000 to Php 20,000 for every hectare of a reforestation project. To note that the 2011 budget of DENR is only about Php 9 billion, the greening program target seems a challenging task to implement unless additional funding support shall be provided. As a strategy, the DENR may involve private and non-government sectors to participate in the national greening program and seek funding assistance from international development institutions. However, a meaningful reforestation plan should be crafted carefully with implementation strategies that are appropriate and effective in areas identified for reforestation purposes. Sustainability mechanisms are necessary because many reforestation projects failed, especially so if local communities are not directly involved.

March 22, 2011 - Posted by | Biodiversity Conservation, Conservation Initiatives, Deforestation and Degradation, Forest Ecosystem, Watershed


  1. Good day, Mr Errol Gatumbato!

    I would just like to know your opinion about the NGP and the Private corporation/ agencies.

    How will the implementation of the NGP affect the private sector?

    Will the NGP be an advantage or disadvantage for the private corporation? (since their participation is highly encouraged)

    What is the main role of the private sector in the NGP?

    Is the private sector required to participate in the program?

    Thank You! very much

    Comment by engelene alvarez (@iamgelene) | September 11, 2011 | Reply

    • Hi,

      You may coordinate with the nearest DENR office in your locality. Yes, the National Greening Program involves participation of various sectors. Thanks for visiting my site… With best wishes…

      Comment by Errol Abada Gatumbato | September 12, 2011 | Reply

  2. Hi,

    Our company is interested to participate in the PGP. We have the land but planting materials are expensive and to go into farming needs capital which as of this moment is not available. . Are there NGOs willing to assist us in this endeavor?

    Comment by Arlene Quinones | September 24, 2011 | Reply

  3. Re NGP – this is a convergent program participated in and spearheaded by the DA, DENR, DILG, DND and DAR (N.B. not only the DENR). In the first year, CBFM areas were targeted for implementation – hence the area is already available and the implementors are the CBFM holders. There were also volunteers who assisted in planting on these areas. For this 2nd year, areas which are considered open-access were identified and with native species earmarked for the protection areas, agro-forestation for suitable areas including fruit tree species. The private sector is invited to join as substantial areas is being offered them. A one-stop shop is being formed to cater to the private sector. For more information, one can always visit the NGP website. Soon even the photos of areas planted, interfaced with google maps will be shown for everybody’s info and appreciation.

    Comment by EDGARDO G. CUETO | April 22, 2012 | Reply

  4. Hi Sir Errol! nice post.

    Comment by ForesterCary | August 3, 2012 | Reply

  5. Hi, I am making research about implementation of environnemental program in indegenous community. I spend one month in a Higaonon community in Mindanao (misamis oriental) where the NGP is going on and is implemented in their ancestral domain. They were very enthousiastic about it as they receive money for it (building nursery, bagging, planting).
    I wanted to know what do you think about this program, i have further questions about the budget. Also it seems that this time the DENR let the community decides which trees to plant and where and how to plant them. But as the method of the DENR and the traditional ecological knowledge and practices of the indegenous people are different it seems to be a problem.
    I would like to have your opinion about it. Thank you!

    Comment by Felix Flandrin | December 13, 2012 | Reply

  6. hi, gud day! im very much interesting bwt the implementation of this Ngp a priority project of the govt.of pinoy. however, this program were implemented nationwide and its on the their way for succes if its vision.. im just wondering if in the ARMM region are also doing the same.. coz i have an information that delayed in the implementation of the ngp in the armm region are the actual scenario.. project funds are mis allocate for this purpose.. hope that budget for ngp will be downloaded directly to the PENRO offices.. and also this shoud be given attention on ARMM region.

    Comment by james b. | April 2, 2013 | Reply

  7. pls. investigate the abuse of authority committed the few DENR staff of Albuera, Leyte. lot of PO’s failed a contractor of NGP because the few staff of Albuera DENR violated the MOA and implementing rules of NGP. PLs investigate this issues .and visit the NGP site. Albuera NGP need of Investigation for the DAAn matuwid and success of NGP project.

    Comment by rosel panta | August 19, 2013 | Reply

  8. Hi Mr. Errol Gatumbato. I would like to ask for your opinion on the institutional impact of NGP. What can you say about social mobilizations as one of the strategies of the program?

    Comment by Lotta | April 21, 2015 | Reply

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