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DENR seeks COA help on tree-planting program

June 17, 2011 7:32pm

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has asked the Commission on Audit (COA) to conduct regular audits of its National Greening Program (NGP) in order to ensure transparency in the implementation of the initiative.

In a statement Friday, DENR Secretary Ramon Paje said he has sought the commission’s help in the audit of some 1.5 billion tree seedlings to be used for program.

Government launched the NGP in mid-May to address environmental issues and ensure the country's self-sufficiency in timber.


The six-year program involves planting some 1.5 billion trees covering 1.5 million hectares of land.

Paje said he has sent a letter to the COA asking for "regular audit priority and attention to the NGP" in order to verify the accuracy of field reports and ensure that the seedling will survive.

The letter was also signed by Secretaries Prospero Alcala and Virgilio De Los Reyes of the Departments of Agriculture and Agrarian Reform, respectively.

“We wrote a joint letter to COA to audit us periodically. Kung pupuwede quarterly," Paje said.

Paje said it is critical to enlist the COA's services so the assigned agencies could "focus on improving the survival rate of the seedlings planted."

“If we need to pay COA to audit us, we will pay because accounting and auditing entail costs," he added.

Expenditures for the NGP could run up to P12,500 per hectare, according to the DENR statement, with P6,000 for production of seedlings and the rest for mobilization costs.

This brings the total disbursement for the program to P8.75 billion.

The NGP aims to reforest some 100,000 hectares this year using 50,000 seedlings.

The United Nations has declared 2011 as the International Year of Forests, highlighting the need for reforestation of rain forests devastated by natural and man-made causes. JM Tuazon/VS, GMA News
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