Philippine labor

1,300 Pangasinan residents find work in eco park rehab

Ahikam Pasion

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1,300 Pangasinan residents find work in eco park rehab

CLEARING OPERATIONS. Workers from villages around the Pagasinan Eco Tourism Park in Barangay Cayanga, Bugallon town clear the undergrowth that has grown thick during the prolonged COVID-19 lockdown.

Pangasinan province

The 20-hectare forest ecology park also has a section for high-value crops to augment the income of communities that watch over the area

DAGUPAN CITY, Philippines – The Pangasinan provincial government found work for 1,300 Pangasinan residents for the clean up and rehabilitation of the province’s Eco Tourism Park in Barangay Cayanga, Bugallon town, that began on Tuesday, November 15.

Pangasinan Governor Ramon Guico III said the workers – residents of 14 barangays in Pangasinan – will be paid P340 daily to implement improvement plans and maintenance of the 20-hectare agroforestry farm.

The provincial government tapped the Department of Social Welfare and Development’s (DSWD) cash-for-work program for the eco-tourism park.

The collaboration started in 2018 through a memorandum of agreement (MOA) between the provincial government and the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO) to establish the National Greening Program (NGP) sites for replanting purposes.

Guico said Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) officers will supervise the workers to ensure that there is no unauthorized cutting until trees are fully grown.

The province’s role is crucial as national funding for NGP areas ends at the third year after creation, risking abandonment of communities. 

SUSTAINING COMMUNITIES. More than 1,300 residents of 14 barangays of Bugallon town, Pangasinan will receive daily wages to clean up and expand a forest eco park and tree nursery. Courtesy of Pangasinan provincial government

Under the MOA, the provincial government adopted a mountain area to start planting forest trees and fruit bearing trees and will supervise the area. It also committed to maintain a forest tree seedlings nursery near the park proper.

Guico said the COVID-19 lockdown that spanned more than two years caused the park to become overgrown.

TREE PLANTING. Pangasinan Governor Ramon ‘Mon-Mon’ Guico III plants a sapling in the provincial forest ecology park in Barangay Cayanga, Bugallon town. Courtesy of Pangasinan province

Aside from clearing the undergrowth, the temporary agro-forestry workers will also plant seedlings and fertilize them, while some will safeguard the area.

Guico’s predecessor, Amado Espino III, laid down a five-year plan for the development of the area, which is part of the province’s watershed and critical for the province’s irrigation and residential needs.

Aside from hiring residents to maintain the eco park, the plan also calls for the planting of high-value crops for community income generation, which Guico has adopted. –

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