The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) is set to plant 772,900 trees to replace some 7,729 trees affected by the on-going 222-kilometer Samar Road Rehabilitation Project under the United States - Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) Grant Secondary National Roads Development Program.
DPWH Secretary Rogelio L. Singson said that the Tree Replacement Program is in compliance to the Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) issued by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Environmental Management Bureau (DENR-EMB) requiring DPWH to plant one hundred (100) tree seedlings as replacement to every tree cut within the project’s road right of way (RROW).
Also, to generate additional income for local residents, the DPWH tasked the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to utilize Pantawid Pamilya Program beneficiaries in the planting of these trees.
“The Tree Replacement Program as well as the utilization of the Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries in the tree-planting will contribute to the government’s National Greening Program and the Millennium Development Goals on the eradication of extreme poverty and hunger, and at the same time ensuring environmental sustainability, said Secretary Singson.
DPWH has initiated partnership with the DENR in the “Tree Replacement Program” inasmuch as they have the expertise and the mandate. The DENR will identify the suitable plantation sites that can accommodate the total number of trees to be planted including preparation of work plan for each site.
The DPWH and DENR will also include the typhoon “Yolanda” damaged mangrove areas along the coastal towns.
“We have to rehabilitate these damaged mangrove areas and restore them as natural protection agents of communities and ecosystems from strong waves, soil erosion and siltation”. said Singson.
The Tree Replacement Program for the Samar Road Project manifests DPWH commitment not only in building national roads but also ensuring environmental sustainability in these areas.
The road project traverses the municipalities of Paranas (Wright) and Hinabangan in Samar, and Taft, Sulat, San Julian, Borongan, Maydolong, Balangkayan, Llorente, Hernani, General Mac Arthur, Quinapondan, Salcedo, Mercedes, and Guiuan in Eastern Samar.