MANILA – Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) gained another partner for its National Greening Program (NGP), so far government’s most ambitious reforestation bid.

DENR and private school Colegio de San Juan de Letran-Manila signed Monday (Sept. 9) the memorandum of agreement covering the latter’s participation in NGP, noted the agency’s development management officer Dexter Villa.

He said under the agreement, Letran will green five hectares in Barangay San Mateo in Bulacan province’s Norzagaray municipality.

“Letran will shoulder expenses related to its greening activity there,” he said.

Such expenses cover production of the required seedlings as well as planting, growing and caring of these plants, he noted.

A people’s organization called Briquettors Association of the Philippines, Inc. is Letran’s partner in undertaking such activities, he said.

“After three years, Letran will turn over the area to the community there,” he continued.

He said planting in the area already started this weekend.

Letran’s greening activity in Norzagaray is part of the school’s community service, he said.

DENR launched NGP in 2011 to reforest by 2016 some 1.5 million hectares of unproductive, denuded and degraded forestland around the country.

In 2015, however, Malacanang issued EO 193 which extended NGP’s implementation period from 2016 to 2028 so the program can cover the country’s estimated 7.1 million hectares of remaining unproductive, denuded and degraded forestland.

NGP aims to promote Philippine self-sufficiency in wood and wood products, poverty alleviation, food and economic security as well as environmental stability.

Official DENR data showed that during the 2011-2018 period, NGP greened nearly two million hectares of unproductive, denuded and degraded forestland nationwide using some 1.7 billion seedlings. (PNA