More than 125,000 hectares of open and denuded forest lands were rehabilitated, as of November 2018, under the government’s Expanded National Greening Program (E-NGP).

This represents 92 percent accomplishment in the annual E-NGP target of 135,859 hectares, according to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

As of November, the DENR reported that 116.5 million tree seedlings have been planted on 125,214 hectares of open and denuded forests covered by the E-NGP.

This latest achievement brings to 1,989,931 hectares the total areas placed under the E-NGP that were planted with a total of 1.7 billion seedlings since 2011.

Moreover, the DENR had already raised some 144.8 million native and fast-growing tree species as planting materials, from January to November 2018.

Around 3.3 million bamboo culms or cuttings and 1.72 million mangrove propagules and beach forest tree seedlings have been produced, exceeding the 2018 targets of 3.1 million and 1.6 million, respectively.

For 2018, the E-NGP generated a total of 334,317 jobs which resulted in the hiring of 52,872 people in plantation site development, plantation maintenance and protection, and establishment and operation of seedling nurseries.

E-NGP is the government’s flagship reforestation initiative that doubles as a poverty reduction measure due to its cash-for-work component.

It started as a six-year massive forest rehabilitation program that aimed to cover 1.5 million hectares of denuded forest lands with trees by the end of 2016. But it was extended until 2028 through an executive order issued in November 2015 in a bid to rehabilitate 7.1 million hectares more.

The reforestation program also serves a national strategy to ensure food security, poverty reduction, environmental stability and biodiversity conservation. It is also a mechanism for climate change mitigation for it enhances the country's forest stock to absorb carbon dioxide.

Meanwhile, the DENR also made progress in its forest protection and anti-illegal logging efforts.

The agency reported that some 108,000 kilometers of forest line have been patrolled by 1,175 forest protection officers who were hired and trained under the Lawin Forest and Biodiversity Protection System developed by the DENR and the United States Agency for International Development or USAID.

As of November 2018, a total of 3.1 million board feet of undocumented timber products were seized, 332 cases were filed and 25 individuals were convicted for violation of Presidential Decree No. 705 or the Revised Philippine Forestry Code. ###