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Widening the Crack to Economic Exploitation of Forestlands

House bill to boost reforestation: solon
BY CARLA GOMEZ

House Bill 375, known as the “Billion Trees Act of 2007,” recently approved in the House sets a national reforestation program that aims to plant one billion forest and fruit trees in the Philippines in five years, Rep. Genaro Alvarez Jr. (Neg. Occ., 6 th district) said yesterday.Alvarez, chairman of the House Committee on Reforestation, is among the principal authors of the bill, along with House Speaker Jose de Venecia.

Its counterpart bill is pending deliberation and approval in the Senate, Alvarez added. The House bill encourages the participation of organized communities, people’s organizations, non government organizations, judicial personalities, local government units, upland and coastal families, private individuals and government employees, including members of the Army and police, Alvarez said.

Participants of the program will enjoy the right to harvest, process, sell or utilize the products grown in production forests, he said.

The bill provides that participants in the reforestation program enter into a “Billion Trees Program Contract” with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources for the enjoyment of rights and technical services from participating government agencies, Alvarez added.

The contract will be effective for 25 years and renewable for another 25, and among the incentives of participants will be exemptions from paying forest charges, taxes on revenue from reforested and protected areas, as well as from real property taxes, Alvarez said.*CPG

Ilog town is the political bailiwick of Rep. Genaro Alvarez Jr. 6th Political district is comprised of the towns of Ilog, Candoni, Cauayan and Hinobaan. Kabankalan and Sipalay cities are located in there.

When Basay sawmill winded up operations, Banso, Center valley, Magubot, Manlauan and Katingawan were Logged-over but very much forested areas. In reality and as shown by experience, Log-ban instead of saving the forests that existed, only hastened their destruction. Negros forests vanished as if by magic.

Maybe peoples’ organizations like CONSAD would have been happier if Congressman Alvarez had authored a bill declaring a small part of Pingot a National park and Protected area where people could plant a few hundred trees guaranteed from harm by man. It could contribute towards sustainable agriculture. It could also lessen the ravages of flash floods for low lying areas like Ilog town.

Maybe State should clarify what is reforestation as well as determine areas that are fit for economic exploitation and to alienate and dispose the latter as early as possible, putting a clear distinction between those two. Also, almost everything agricultural that grows will qualify as “tree’ or “fruit tree”. We Filipinos are known as expert twisters, as everyone knows.

“We have no conflict in the use of jatropha for biodiesel because it is being planted on non agricultural idle cogonal lands,” he said, citing formerly logged over highly slopping lands…(Juan Miguel Zubiri at the Visayan Daily Star)

What is allowable for Pedro is allowable for Juan and all. That’s democracy. But what the small ones can do, the big ones can do better. And what is accessible to a few is not always accessible to the many. Add too much politics and graft and corruption in there. They are reality. We had one, plus one, plus one, that showed three. To expect the same to show two or four next time around would be stupidity. Welcome to the Philippines!

Sa akon lang / RLTJ

By the way, Nehemias Nene Delacruz– also in the news, happened to be my classmate and an old friend. He is the President of Pingot Agro Forestry Development Association (PAFDA).

For those who do not know, he is the guy behind the creation of Don Salvador Benedicto, the youngest town added to Negros Occidental, out of nothing and out of nowhere. (I’m still searching for a map that shows the town’s exact location)

He became it’s first appointed and, later, the first elected mayor of the town. When his term was spent up to its limit, his butihing maybahay, Cynthia, was elected Mayor with their son Laurence Marxlen then as her Vice Mayor. (To the proponents of the Anti-political dynasty Law, ti, wala kita ‘da mahimo because nobody else was better.)

He is behind Salvador Benedicto Cooperative Association (Salvacopa). He is or was also connected to the prestigious giant, San Miguel Corporation.

Another former common classmate, Edgar Cadagat, has what appears to be an unhappy report. What are the hard facts in there, I mean the updates, Bros?…

[I live in a Kahon (box). That’s another word for ex-communicado, a quarantined, a bore or the likes. It’s lonely in there except when the box is filled with people that poses the question of who is isolating who and who is “in” and who is “out” of what or where. In the world of thesis and antithesis, I would like to believe that I belong with the synthesis.]

More power and Get well soon Bro!

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2 Responses

  1. […] of denuded public lands, which is what proponents of Cassava and Jatropha Curcas have in mind – wholesale use of those lands for almost no cost to them, to employ destitute squatters  in public lands who literally scratch for a living, many of whom […]

  2. […] of public land, more particularly forestland, is farther advanced or furtherance by the Billion Trees Act authored by Congressman Genaro Alvarez Jr and Congressman  Jose de Venecia II of the lower house of […]

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