Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Roy A. Cimatu will relieve the agency’s frontline field officers who will not meet the required 85-percent survival rate of planted tree seedlings contracted to peoples organizations (POs) under the Expanded National Greening Program (E-NGP).

In a statement the DENR issued on October 30, Cimatu said he would like to let somebody take the command responsibility if the target is not met.

“I would like to let somebody take the command responsibility for these areas,” Cimatu told Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officers (PENROs) and Community Environment and Natural Resources Officers (CENROs), who were among the 181 DENR workers who completed the training course conducted by the DENR’s Environment and Natural Resources Academy recently.

“I am designating the PENROs and CENROs as plantation managers,” Cimatu said during their culminating activity held at the DENR central office grounds in Quezon City last October 20, 2019.

“It’s very simple. I will relieve you if you cannot fulfill that. Yes, it’s a tall order. Even if you have to go there at least every two weeks,” Cimatu told the DENR field officials.

Cimatu issued the warning as he expressed his disappointment over the low survival rates for seedlings planted in some PO-contracted areas, ranging only from 35 to 50 percent.

It is for this reason why the DENR suspended the scheme of contracting POs for the ENGP this year. Instead, the agency focused on the rehabilitation and protection efforts in PO-contracted plantation sites established before 2019.

From 2011 to July this year, almost 2 million hectares have been planted with 1.7 billion tree seedlings. It generated 4.73 million jobs benefiting more than 670,000 upland dwellers. Most of the planted sites have been contracted to POs.

From 2016 to 2018 alone, POs accounted for 573,735 hectares under the NGP, consisting of 24,672 plantation sites.

NGP contracts with POs cover a three-year period, during which the NGP partners enjoy compensation for seedling production, site preparation, tree planting, maintenance, and protection.