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Rehab of Leyte Sab-a Basin Peatlands, pilot site for ASEAN Peatland Forest Project, underway

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
September 19, 2012

TACLOBAN CITY  –  Now ongoing in the province of Leyte is the implementation of community-led demonstration projects on sustainable use and rehabilitation of the peatland areas within the Leyte Sab-a Basin, a pilot site for the ASEAN Peatland Forest Project in the Philippines.

Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Region 8 Regional Executive Director Manolito D. Ragub, recently, forged agreements with the Municipal Mayors of Alang-alang and Santa Fe, Leyte for the said project.

In said agreements, Mayor Loreto Yu of the municipality of Alang-alang mobilized the constituents of Barangays Divisoria, Langit and Tabangohay through the respective Barangay Chairmen, in establishing one hectare demonstration projects and rehabilitation of two hectares degraded peatland areas in their respective barangays.

On the other hand, Mayor Melchor Quemado of the municipality of Santa Fe caused the constituents of barangay San Isidro through its barangay chairman to implement the same demonstration project and rehabilitation area.

Ms. Purificacion Daloos, chief of the regional Public Affairs Office of DENR-8 informed that the community-led demonstration projects and rehabilitation areas will serve as learning sites for sustainable use and conservation of peatlands at the same time providing livelihood to the community.

Ms. Daloos said that this project also aims at creating awareness and instituting measures in the protection and sustainable use of areas surrounding the peatlands that allows cultivation for agricultural crops.

Each Barangay shall receive P175,000 for the development of the one hectare demonstration project and two hectares rehabilitation area.

This amount is part of the fund grant from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) through the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) which is helping the Philippines and other ASEAN Peatland Forest Projects undertake activities for rehabilitation and sustainable use of peatland forests in South East Asia.

The Leyte Sab-a Basin is one of the two pilot sites for the ASEAN Peatland Forest Project in the Philippines. The other project is in Agusan Del Sur.

The project is being implemented by the Government through the DENR’s Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau (PAWB) with funding from the IFAD and the GEF. It has two component activities for 2012: providing small community-led demonstration project on sustainable use of peatlands as well as rehabilitation of degraded peatlands for the hydrology and conservation of biodiversity.

The project may seem small but once the sites will become operational, it will create a multiplier effect especially on the proper use, rehabilitation and conservation of this still lesser known peatlands ecosystems, as important habitat of biodiversity and as carbon sinks,” RED Ragub said.