Touching an individual’s life doesn’t only affect a person or two. It always has a chain reaction for the better.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Region 6, extended various services through its Enhanced National Greening Program (ENGP), Community Based Forest Management (CBFM), and issuance of Free Patents to the beneficiaries as part of the Central Antique Local Convergence Initiative for Sustainable Rural Development. Through this initiative, big lifts in the growth of the people in the five municipalities were notable since it was launched in the year 2010.
The Barangay Cuyapiao Upland Farmers Association (BCUFA) in the municipality of Patnongon, province of Antique is among the People’s Organization (POs) that benefited from the ENGP. The thirty (30) PO members (18 male and 12 female) led by their PO President Mr. Tranquilino Pillado, Jr., were grateful for the projects they received which eventually changed their way of life. Moreover, it became a venue that led them in taking action to protect the environment. Their sense of ownership as PO members drove them to focus on the implementation of ENGP in CY 2017, 2018, and 2021 with an area of 152 hectares planted with indigenous and bamboo species.
For CY 2021, the PO is a recipient of a 50-hectare Bamboo Plantation, with a project contract cost of One Million Two Hundred Eighty-Two Thousand Pesos (Php 1,282,000.00). The plantation project benefited a total of eighteen (18) families, with an average of two (2) members per family involve. These plantations are under maintenance and protection for FY 2022.
According to the PO members, having involved in a project like the ENGP is an opportunity for them to show that the government entrusted them to develop and take part in restoring and protecting the forest. They also benefited from the income of the Organization in all phases of the project, from nursery establishment, plantation establishment and maintenance, and protection activity for three years of implementation. Noteworthy to mention, are the impacts of the project on the lives of PO members. They were able to send their children to school and during the COVID 19 pandemic, they were able to buy cell phones for their children to be used during their online classes. Others were able to buy appliances, farm inputs, and machinery, improved and/or built their houses, invested in motorcycles (habal-habal) as livelihood, and livestock raising as additional income. Other members were also happy to share that out of the income from the project, they were able to celebrate their birthdays and other special occasions.
The technical support extended by the Forest Extension Officers (FEOs) is not only to monitor the project but also to train them on financial literacy and organizational stability. Continuous Information and Education Campaign (IEC) were conducted to the members and also to the community, to include Gender Sensitivity Training for them to recognize that both men and women have an important role to play in the household, organization, and even in the community level.
After 12 years of the Central Antique Convergence Initiative, the upland communities that benefitted from the programs and services of the government, through the DENR -ENGP have touched the lives of many individuals. The program taught them to work as a team and be responsible stewards to protect their project and source of income, by protecting their community as well. ###