DENR looking to exclude Mayon area from greening program
Rhodina Villanueva (The Philippine Star) - February 8, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is planning to exclude from coverage of the National Greening Program (NGP) a portion of Albay in Bicol, particularly the area near Mayon Volcano.

DENR Undersecretary for policy, planning and international affairs Jonas Leones said they are reviewing the policy on planting trees in the area vulnerable to Mayon’s restiveness.

He said reports have reached his office that some of the trees and crops planted at the foot of the volcano under the NGP were damaged.

“We are looking into this matter and will decide whether or not to plant trees in affected areas or danger zones,” he said.

Leones said the trees could turn into investments that are eventually washed away given Mayon’s character.

“What’s the use of planting if these trees will be wiped out afterwards?” he asked.

He cited narra, mahogany and crops such as coffee as samples of species planted in the area.

The official, however, advised farmers to continue planting crops that can be easily harvested and would just take a few months to bear fruit.

“They can still conduct temporary farming there but should choose the type of crops they will grow,” he said.

He also advised affected families there including DENR employees to continue wearing dust masks since the quality of air continues to deteriorate.

The latest DENR report  showed that air quality in the affected area had worsened. Leones said given the standard of 150 micrograms per normal cubic meter, monitoring of the Environmental Management Bureau showed total suspended particulates reached 500 micrograms per normal cubic meter.  

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