Government has identified as one of the planting sites for its 2011-2016 National Greening Program (NGP) the deteriorating Ipo Watershed, an area vital in sustaining quality water supply across the country’s largest urban hub Metro Manila.
”We decided to open up about 7,000 hectares of land there for tree planting,” Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Ramon Paje said at Saturday’s Forum at Annabel’s in Quezon City.
He noted the decision was reached this week when government launched NGP which targets greening 1.5 million hectares of open, denuded and degraded land nationwide using some 1.5 billion seedlings.
DENR earlier reported monitoring deteriorating stability, productivity and functionality in Ipo Watershed in Norzagaray, Bulacan, the transit point of Metro Manila-bound water from Angat Watershed before reaching La Mesa Watershed Reservoir in Novaliches.
Such deterioration is due to uncontrolled and widespread forest degradation, illegal harvesting of forest products, onslaught of fires into the natural forest there and conversion of forest land for cash crop production, DENR reported.
The agency also said such factors collectively result in sand, silt and rock deposition into Ipo Dam Reservoir.
For NGP planting activities in Ipo Watershed, Paje said government will prioritize students in Metro Manila since the area is near this metropolis.
Students nationwide will help green NGP’s target areas since Executive Order 26 instituting this program requires them and civil servants nationwide to each plant at least 10 seedlings annually.