TVIRD planted over 22,000 different tree species for sustainable development prior to operations
Bayog, Zamboanga del Sur / April 2017 – Environmental integrity is one of the primary program objectives of TVI Resource Development Philippines Inc. (TVIRD) when it planted over 22,000 different tree species covering at least 17 kilometers within its Mineral Production Sharing Agreement (MPSA) area. All this, towards overall sustainable development of Balabag and its neighboring communities.
“Most of the trees were planted in Balabag, particularly in areas previously affected by the massive cutting of trees due to illegal mining,” according to Colonel Valentino Edang, acting manager and security officer in the company’s Balabag Epithermal Gold and Silver Project.
Edang, a retired military officer of the Philippine Army, said the program is aimed at growing thousands of trees under the company’s environmental management program, which is in consonance with the government’s current thrust for environmental protection.
The government’s partner
Through Executive Order (EO) 26, the national government launched the National Greening Program (NGP) as a government priority program to reduce poverty, promote food security, environmental stability and biodiversity conservation, and enhance climate change mitigation and adaption. The mandate was effected in 24 February 2011.
The NGP sought to plant 1.5 billion seedlings in 1.5 million hectares of public lands nationwide from 2011 to 2016 – more than twice the government’s accomplishment for the past 25 years, and which adds to about 730,000 hectares of forest land.
Previously, TVIRD’s Agata Mining Ventures Inc. (AMVI) joined thousands of volunteers in TreeVolution: Greening MindaNOW – a massive tree-planting activity conducted simultaneously across six regions in Mindanao. Spearheaded by the DENR and organized by the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA), the activity successfully planted 3.2 million tree seedlings, beating India for the most number of trees planted in one hour.
As a whole, the mining industry is the country’s largest industrial planter of trees with more than 20 million trees planted in a brief three-year period.
TVIRD Community Development Officer Lope Dizon said the planted trees that have a high survival rate are Benguet Pine, Coconut, Acacia, Mahogany, Mangium and species of old trees like Falcata and Lawaan.
Dizon said the trees already provide a “shaded walkway” along a 14-kilometer stretch of the provincial road traversing the villages of Depore, Pulangbato and Dipili.
“Today, you can see the big difference,” said Dizon who compared the side of the road that had no trees five years ago.
TVIRD is committed to pursue the greening program not only to maintain the area’s environmental integrity but also as a way to promote sustainable livelihood projects for the host community through agroforestry.
“TVIRD has remained steadfast to its commitment to environmental protection in its stewardship of Balabag,” Dizon concluded.
Balabag is part of TVIRD’s 4,779-hectare MPSA, which already received an approved Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) in 2013 and Declaration of Mine Project Feasibility (DMPF) in 2016. It also received an approval for its Social Development Management Program from the MGB in May 2014.
The approval of the ECC confirms that the company has satisfied the requirements of Presidential Decree No. 1586 and will secure Bayog’s environment.