The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is partnering with the Philippine Army Reserve Command (Arescom) to replenish the stripped forest lands of Region 2 (Cagayan Valley). 

The collaboration has been made official through the signing of a memorandum of agreement (MOA), specifically between DENR Assistant Secretary Joan Lagunda and Arescom’s Maj. Gen. Fernando Felipe and Col. Wilfredo Adquilen Jr.

Under the memorandum, both parties will work together to enrich the existing forest and plantation of the region, as well as, regenerate areas of denuded forests. The initiative will also bolster the protection of the valley, especially from unauthorized interference.

Lagunda, a reservist with the rank of lieutenant colonel, said the department aims to mobilize the citizenry to safeguard, conserve, and help manage the environment and its natural resources.

“Caring for the environment is not solely for DENR, but all of us. It is a whole-of-nation approach,” she said. 

According to Felipe, caring for the country’s environment and natural resources is another way of showing one’s nationalism. 

“Taking care of the natural resources is one of the best forms of volunteerism and patriotism,” he shared.

DENR said the initiative will cover about 20 hectares of non-contigious land in Region 2’s provinces – Cagayan, Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya and Isabela, and Batanes. After the department is done with identifying sites of concern, the 2nd Regional Community Defense Group of Arescom will plant or replant seedlings of trees endemic to the region. 

The force will also be tasked with ensuring that the areas will be free from any unregulated activity. All the while, DENR will be in charge of all initial preparations. The department will also be the one to supply planting materials, provide technical and share their expertise for the entire duration of the project.

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