BY LEANDER C. DOMINGO
BAYOMBONG, Nueva Vizcaya (MAY 28)—Four Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA)-funded agroforestry support facilities worth P58.3 million have been turned over to three Southern Nueva Vizcaya municipalities, according to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
Corie Corpuz, a Region 2 (Cagayan Valley) information officer, said the facilities were constructed under the DENR’s Forestland Management Project (FMP).
The projects, according to Corpuz, aim to ensure the protection and maintenance of about 3,000 hectares of reforestation and agroforestry plantations developed by people’s organizations in the municipalities of Dupax del Sur, Kasibu and Kayapa.
She noted these JICA-funded projects under a loan agreement are part of the FMP’s 10-year watershed rehabilitation project being implemented by the DENR.
Region 2 Executive Director Gwendolyn Bambalan of the DENR Cagayan Valley region said the flags of Japan and the Philippines that represent the union of two parties also symbolize the DENR’s partnership with the local government units (LGUs) and all stakeholders.
“These facilities will provide easy access to basic necessities and social services to at least 13,000 residents,” Bambalan pointed out as she appealed for the support of the village chiefs in forest protection and the restoration of the Cagayan River.
Edgar Martin, Provincial DENR officer, said the province of Nueva Vizcaya is fortunate to have the biggest number of projects in all FMP sites in the country.
“As such, we urge the LGUs and the people’s organizations here to take good care of these facilities,” Martin added.
The JICA-funded projects included the 9.8-kilometer irrigation pipeline in Barangay Buyasyas in Kayapa town and were accepted by members of the I’wak indigenous cultural community.
Martin said the I’wak’s are FMP partners in developing agroforestry and plantations sites within their ancestral domain claim covered by a Community-Based Forest Management Agreement.
He added the water pipeline is expected to provide irrigation water to sustain several hundreds of hectares of agroforestry and tree plantations established along the catchment area of the Santa Cruz River, a sub-watershed of the Magat River.
“The pipelines connect 12 water storage tanks arranged in series from the source to the end-users,” Martin said.
Another project was the steel hanging bridge in Banila village in Dupax del Sur town that will enable residents to cross the river even during the rainy season, good for motorcycles to pass through it.