The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) awarded at least 357 hectares of forestlands to upland farmers in Zambales and Nueva Ecija.
The forestlands were awarded under the Community Based-Forest Management Program (CBFMP) in a bid to reduce poverty in rural areas and promote social justice and equitable access to forest resources, the DENR said.
DENR Regional Director Francisco Milla, Jr. said the People’s Organizations (PO) of Palauig Green Planters Association Incorporated in the town of Palauig, Zambales was awarded with 106 hectares and the Digmala Tree Planters Association Incorporated in Gabaldon, Nueva Ecija was awarded with 251 hectares.
The awarding of forestlands comes with a 25-year Community Based-Forest Management Agreement (CBFMA).
The groups are also considered the latest beneficiaries of the program, 12 years after a moratorium was implemented in the issuance of CBFMA.
“The DENR is not giving land titles in forestlands only those alienable and disposable lands (A and D) such as agricultural land and residential areas are awarded with titles. However, tenurial instrument in the form of agreement is being awarded to upland farmers as proof of their legitimate occupancy over the forestland,” Milla explained.
Milla said the new direction of DENR is to provide livelihood opportunities, brings social justice and empower upland communities especially the poorest among the poor.