Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Assistant Secretary Marcial Amaro Jr. commended the launch of the 10 Million in 10 (10M in 10) for Greener Negros project in this city recently. The 10M in 10 project is developed by Energy Development Corporation (EDC), the company that runs the geothermal power plant in Valencia, Negros Oriental. It aims to grow ten million native trees and increase the dwindling forest cover of Negros island in ten years.
In his message during the launching of 10M in 10 at St. Paul University Dumaguete on Oct. 10, Asec. Amaro disclosed that the project, together with EDC’s primary forest restoration program BINHI, shares the components of the department’s National Greening Program (NGP). NGP is the biggest forest restoration program initiated by DENR. Apart from this, it is also a climate change adaptation and mitigation strategy of the government. Amaro congratulated EDC for creating the 10M in 10 project and said this initiative is the right approach and strategy towards a long term and sustainable forest restoration in the whole Negros Island.
“10M in 10 is an island-wide forest restoration. It aims to mobilize all stakeholders from the grassroots community, public and private institutions, businesses and civil society organizations in greening the whole island,” he said. “The program is expected to create opportunities for collaboration between different stakeholders, promote forest reforestation and create widespread positive environmental and socio-economic impacts,” he added.
The project will also boost eco-tourism, health, safety and security, and compatible livelihood activities in local government units in Negros Island. Asec. Amaro believes the 10M in 10 project will make Negros Island a better place for everybody to live as inhabitants in the island will enjoy the environmental benefits and outcome of a greener island.
“We at DENR is committed to support this program. Mindful of the newly created Negros Island Region, we will identify and allocate lands for forest restoration activity. We will also help in the production of seedlings. We will also join you in your advocacy to plant more native trees in our forest lands,” he concluded.
Amaro spoke to hundreds of people who came from LGUs, national government agencies, academic institutions and the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP) chapters in Negros Occidental and Negros Oriental who attended the event.
The highlights of the launch were the signing of partnership agreement between said stakeholders and EDC in promoting this program and the advocacy to preserve the island’s forest covers. Stakeholders also signed the pledge wall to express their commitment for forest restoration. EDC president and Chief Operating Officer (COO) Richard Tantoco reaffirmed the company’s commitment to preserve the island’s forest covers. Tantoco emphasized that watersheds play a critical role in ensuring continued geothermal operations. He explained that geothermal energy comes from the steam that we extract from the water reservoirs that are heated by old volcanic magma chambers deep within the mountains. He said it is only important that the firm plants trees to capture the rainwater that will charge the reservoir to replenish the supply of geothermal energy in the future. “This is why we are committed to protect the forest. The geothermal energy is a primary example of how development can happen in harmony with nature and how our modern human needs can be met at the same time while protecting our environment,” Tantoco said.
He also cited that from 1989 to 2008, EDC has replanted 2, 300 hectares of land with 2.5 million trees. In 2009, the renewable energy firm, through its BINHI program, have reforested additional 2,200 hectares of land. With the launching of 10M n 10, Tantoco said EDC is raising the bar for environmental stewardship by partnering with as many people and institutions as possible to make the program a full-pledged forest restoration program. The launching concluded with a tree planting activity inside St. Paul University Dumaguete.