Press Release re the National Greening Program
Elizabeth Carranza – 0920-9684982
Environmental Group Censures the National Greening Program
July 1, 2014, Manila – Save Sierra Madre Network Alliance (SSMNA), a multi-sectoral network of indigenous peoples groups, non-government organizations, grassroots communities, faith-based groups, academe and individuals working for the conservation and protection of Sierra Madre Mountain Range, censures the National Greening Program (NGP) of the Aquino Administration.
Section 1 of the National Greening Program's declaration of policy states that "it is the policy of the State to pursue sustainable development for poverty reduction, food security, biodiversity conservation, and climate change mitigation and adaptation" and Section 2 states that the greening program targets to be able to plant 1.5 billion seedlings in 1.5 million hectares of public lands nationwide in six years from 2011 to 2016.
“Calling it as National Greening Program is very deceiving. It is a pity that an astoundingly large amount has been allotted to such a greening program that is not at all genuinely bringing back the fullness and greenness of our mountains and forests but is actually even reducing our forest cover and turning our mountains to brown.” said Elizabeth Carranza, chairperson of Save Sierra Madre Network Alliance (SSMNA).
In a research paper recently released by SSMNA, burned NGP sites have been recorded. It has also been highlighted in the said paper that dummy Peoples Organizations were set-up to access contracts for nursery plantation and all other benefits offered by NGP. Moreover, problems pertaining to livelihood components which have not been properly addressed were also underscored. POs dealing with such problems were still struggling to get what was due them.
“Aside from not being a genuine greening program, NGP’s aim to alleviate poverty among its beneficiaries is also but a phony. I received a call last night (June 30) from Fr. Joefran Talaban, parish priest of the Nuestra Señora dela Salvacion Parish in Bianoan, Casiguran, Aurora telling me that up until now, the members of Abuan Upland Farmers Association (AUFA) in Bianoan, the first group to report to me their complaints on the NGP implementation and inspired SSMNA to conduct a Descriptive Inquiry on the On-going National Greening Program, have not yet been given their work compensation. These people have even spent their own money and some of them have been indebted in rendering their tasks related to their commitment to the Program. Where is poverty alleviation here?” Carranza added.
SSMNA’s paper concludes that “amidst claims of the DENR that NGP has been successfully implemented, basing on its achieved annual targets, in the grassroots level and on the ground, the program was a total failure, muddled up with fraud, cheating and corruptions.” The paper relates that there is a lack of a reliable monitoring and evaluation mechanism that would confirm the reports of the DENR personnel on ground to their Central Office of 100% yield of success of its target. Had NGP really achieved its targets? As reported by the DENR, yes! But, in reality, and talking about quality and sustainability, a BIG NO! -end