by Ronna Marie Badua
October 12, 2016 – The Regional Convergence Initiative III together with the Department of National Defense convened at Fort Magsaysay Military Reservation to craft the Memorandum of Agreement for the Renewal of the Bamboo Plantation Project. It was chaired by Mr. Edwin Paningbatan, PMED Chief of the Department of Agriculture Regional Office III and Regional Focal Person of RCI III.
The meeting was attended by the representatives of the DENR Ecosystems and Research Development Bureau, the Department of Public Works and Highways, Department of Health, Department of Science and Technology, Department of Tourism and the 7th Philippine Army Infantry Division.
The Bamboo Plantation project was established in 2013 pursuant to the mandate of Executive Order No. 23 series of 2011 also known as the National Greening Program. It was spearheaded by the Department of National Defense in collaboration with the DA-DAR-DENR-DILG Convergence Initiative. Its main objective is to convert a part of a particular military reservation into a plantation site which will produce high value crops and trees to provide additional income to the men-in-uniform and the community within the camp. The project also aimed as an approach to climate change mitigation. Fort Magsaysay Military Reservation was chosen as the pilot and model site for other camps to follow the strategy. A 3,000 ha of forestland inside the Fort Magsaysay was allotted for the project.
Initially, the objectives of the series of meetings undertaken were to discuss the rehabilitation and development of the bamboo plantation, and review the commitment of the different concerned agencies after the fire occurrences that transpired last April 2016. However, it was noted that the MOA for the said project has already expired last June 11, 2016. Consequently, it was agreed that the next meeting to be conducted shall focus on the drafting of the new MOA as well as establish the organizational structure of the technical working group for the said project.
At the moment, the MOA was already drafted and is making its round among the concerned agencies for review and comments. The finalized document shall be endorsed to the DA-DAR-DENR-DILG-DND Secretaries and will be included in the agenda of the upcoming National Steering Committee Principals Meeting tentatively scheduled in November for a ceremonial signing.