President Aquino expands coverage of National Greening Program

MANILA, Nov. 27 -- President Benigno S. Aquino III has issued an executive order expanding the coverage of the government’s National Greening Program.

Under Executive Order (EO) No. 193, the Expanded National Greening Program will cover all the remaining unproductive, denuded and degraded forestlands and its period of implementation is extended from 2016 to 2028.

Signed by President Aquino last November 12, the Order encourages all sectors, particularly the private sector, to actively participate in the Expanded National Greening Program.

Executive Order 193 also tasked the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to issue appropriate rules and regulations within 60 days from the effectivity of the Order.

The EO stated that the funding for the implementation of the Expanded National Greening Program will be charged against the current appropriation of the DENR. Subsequent funding requirements will be incorporated in the annual budget proposal of the DENR through the General Appropriations Act.

In 2011, President Aquino issued EO No. 26, declaring the implementation of the National Greening Program as a government priority to reduce poverty, promote food security, environmental stability and biodiversity conservation, and enhance climate change mitigation and adaptation.

In issuing EO 193, the President noted that in the Global Forest Resources Assessment for 2015, the Food and Agriculture Organization ranked the Philippines as 5th worldwide in terms of greatest forest area gain from 2010 to 2015.

With the threat of climate change, forests and forestry remain as the carbon sink that could sustain the industrial development and economic growth of the country, the President added.

President Aquino added that there is still an estimated 7.1 million hectares of unproductive, denuded and degraded forestlands, which contribute to environment-related risks such as soil erosion, landslides, and flooding.

He emphasized that to accelerate the rehabilitation and reforestation of these unproductive, denuded and degraded areas, the government should seek the participation and investment of the private sector, with a view towards enabling private companies to achieve carbon neutrality. (PCOO/PND)

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