After a two-year hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) resumed its on-site monitoring of the Forestland Management Project (FMP) implementation. On 13 June 2022, JICA visited FMP sites in Ifugao, Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) to witness firsthand and assess the project gains at the field level in light of the request of project implementers for a one-year project extension. Moreover, the Foreign-Assisted and Special Projects Service (FASPS), led by its new director Al Orolfo, wanted to make sure its support to the project activities in the region were sustained.
A lineup of activities was prepared by FMP-CAR in time of the visit. This involved the transfer of management of an FMP-funded access road to the local government unit of Barangay Montabiong in the municipality of Lagawe, the monitoring of plantation and enterprise development activities of partner people’s organizations (POs) in the Lagawe subwatershed, and the inspection of the Subproject Site Management Office (SUSIMO) of the Lagawe subwatershed and the Provincial Project Management Office (PPMO) of FMP-Ifugao.
The turnover ceremony of the Rehabilitation of the Montabiong Access Road was graced by the Embassy of Japan contingents led by its First Secretary, Mr. Tachikawa Junpei.
JICA representative Hashizume Takuya urged LGU officials and partner POs to take care and maintain the 4.5-km infrastructure in order to ensure longer utilization and achieve improved access to critical subwatershed in order to sustain reforestation, conservation, and protection efforts.
DENR-CAR Regional Executive Director Ralph C. Pablo reminded the communities of Montabiong to strike a balance between socio-economic and watershed rehabilitation and conservation activities as humanity cannot survive a heavily degraded environment.
The group visited the tree-and-agroforestry plantations of the Greener Pasture Ad Holnad, Inc. (GPAHI) and observed how the agroforestry farm-to-table tablea was manufactured by the organization through its cacao plantations all the way to its cacao processing facility.
The group also paid a visit to the Boliwong Organization of Muyung Protectors, Inc. (BOMPI), who led their guests to their fruit tree plantation intercropped with bananas.
FMP-CAR hoped that it had provided reasonable impetus to JICA, as seen through promising results on the ground, to consider favorably the project’s request for extension until July 2023. (FMP/ Ara Gendrano)