Dupax del Sur, Nueva Vizcaya—The ten-year Forestland Management Project of the DENR, which started in 2012 through funding support from the Japan International Cooperation Agency, has turned over four completed infrastructures to local government units.
In her turnover massage, Regional Executive Director Gwendolyn C. Bambalan of DENR Cagayan Valley said, “I saw two flags, and for me it represents the union of two parties, just like a wedding. You have decorated the venue as if two people are getting married, so I hope that this turnover ceremony does not only signify the partnership of the Philippines and Japan but DENR’s partnership with the LGUs and all stakeholders.”
Bambalan led the DENR party in the formal ceremonies held Monday and Tuesday (May 17-18) in four separate venues. She was referring to the intertwined flag-lets of the Philippines and Japan placed by ceremony organizers around the project sites to highlight JICA’s funding support.
Representatives of the province, municipality, and barangays signed the turnover documents either as witnesses or accepting parties. The Office of the Congressman also sent Vice Governor Jose Tomas and his son, Jose Tomas Jr. to witness the acceptance of the project.
“Nueva Vizcaya is fortunate to have the biggest number of projects in all FMP sites in the country. As such, we urge the LGUs and the people’s organizations here to take good care of these facilities,” PENRO Edgar Martin exhorted members of the beneficiary communities.
The 9.8-kilometer irrigation pipeline in Brgy. Buyasyas, Kayapa was accepted by members of the I’wak indigenous cultural community, who are also partners of the FMP in developing agroforestry and plantations sites within their ancestral domain claim covered by a Community Based Forest Management Agreement.
The water pipeline would provide irrigation water to sustain several hundreds of hectares of agroforestry and tree plantations established along the catchment area of the Santa Cruz River, a subwatershed of the Magat River. The pipelines connect 12 water storage tanks arranged in series from the source to the end-users.
The steel hanging bridge in Brgy. Banila, Dupax del Sur, which was elevated several meters above the riverbank would now enable residents to cross the river even during the rainy season. The bridge was wide enough that a motorcycle can pass through it.
Still in Dupax del Sur, a 1.7-kilometer concreted access road with a reinforced concrete box culvert structure will now provide easy access to plantation and agroforestry sites in Brgy. Canabay. “We used to spend as much as two hours to reach our tree plantations, now we can be there in just 15 minutes,” said tree-farmer Joel Quintin.
The last project turned over to the LGUs was a cemented tire path in Brgy. Nantawacan. It straddles along a 5-kilometer distance going to the plantation and agroforestry sites in the town of Kasibu.
“I am so happy that DENR brought in these projects to my town. Even if we put together all our development funds, it would take us years or even decades to be able to establish big infrastructure projects such as these,” Dupax del Sur Mayor Ruben Basconcillo Jr. said in his acceptance speech.
Dupax del Sur has nine out of the 36 projects allotted to Nueva Vizcaya. The other recipient towns of Nueva Vizcaya are Kayapa, Ambaguio, Dupax Del Norte, and Kasibu.
“I noted that these projects were funded by a loan from JICA. Seeing the good quality of the work done, I think this is a worthwhile way to spend borrowed money,” remarked Board Member Elma Pinao-an Lejao who represented Nueva Vizcaya Governor Carlos Padilla in the turnover ceremony.