The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) shall extend livelihood programs to qualified beneficiaries in Eastern Visayas.

Initially, four (4) people’s organizations in Southern Leyte and Northern Samar are set to receive the livelihood component from the DENR through its Community-Based Forest Management (CBFM) program with the infusion of funding from the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP).

“With the technical and financial assistance from the government and accompanied by the indigenous knowledge of the local populace, they are able to effectively manage the sustainability of the forest resources because they themselves are involved in the decision-making, formulation of projects and programs,” says Ms. Catalina B. Nuñez, regional coordinator of CBFM.

Through the Community-Based Forest Management Program (CBFMP) which is the government’s overall strategy towards the management and protection of forest and forestlands, the people living near or within forestlands who are dependent upon its resources for their survival become active participants in the management and protection of forests and forestlands.

Since the inception of CBFM as part of DENR’s forest management program in the region, 159 people’s organizations have benefitted covering an aggregate of 119,915.281 hectares. It includes the 4 new POs beneficiaries, namely, Higapo Gamay Farmer’s Association (HIGAFA) of Maasin City, Southern Leyte; Brgy. Coroconog CBRMP Association and Brgy. Lawaan Farmer’s Association, both of San Roque, Northern Samar. Another beneficiary is the Cabadiangan Integrated Social Forestry Association (CISFA) of Laoang, Northern Samar.

Through CBFM-CARP funds, the beneficiaries shall venture into agroforestry activities within timberland areas assigned to them. They will be planting indigenous trees to rehabilitate denuded forestlands and stabilize steep slopes while also planting fruit-bearing trees like guyabano, mango, banana, cassava and other vegetable crops. Others will also be propagating rattan as raw materials for furniture and other handicrafts.

This project financed by the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Fund to introduce agroforestry is aimed to augment the income of farmers and to entice other people’s organizations to be engaged in forest protection and management.