The COVID 19 pandemic has affected the lives of our countrymen and government agencies are exerting efforts to mitigate its impact particularly on the environment and food security.

This is one of the efforts of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in Region IX as they initiate the distribution of several thousands of forest trees and vegetable seedlings in partnership with the Department of Agriculture Region IX recently to upland farmers, barangay residents, government employees and local government units.

A total of 7,200 vegetables seedlings were provided to the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) IX yesterday June 25 by DENR IX at their office in Lenienza, Pagadian City.

DENR IX Regional Executive Director Crisanta Marlene P. Rodriguez turned over the vegetable seedlings to BJMP IX Regional Director Jail Senior Superintendent Johnson M. Calub in a simple ceremony dubbed as Alay Gulay at their office.

The event was witnessed by Dr. Darwin Lloyd Sulay of the Department of Agriculture IX who is the official representative of Regional Executive Director Rad Donn Cedeño.

Director Rodriguez said that this project dubbed as Alay Gulay aims to encourage backyard gardening in order to augment the food supply in the region during this COVID19 pandemic.

"By planting in their backyard, we can always assure that Food is Available In The Home (FAITH)", she added.

"Backyard gardening and consuming local vegetables can have a huge effect not only for one's health but also to the environment in terms of lessening an individual's carbon footprint", the lady director said.

Director Rodriguez explained further that planting indigenous trees can help mitigate the impacts of climate change by absorbing carbon in the atmosphere and in return providing us with oxygen. It can also enrich biodiversity in terms of increasing native flora species in their community.

Director Calub expressed his thanks and lauded the efforts of DENR and DA for this project as it is already a big help against hunger during this time of the COVID 19 pandemic.

It can be recalled that DENR IX's Modernized and Mechanical Forest Nursery in Baclay, Tukuran passed the inspection and assessment of its suitability and readiness conducted by DA IX and has entered into a Memorandum of Agreement with the said agency on the use of the nurseries as area of propagation for high-valued agricultural crops which will be subsequently distributed to partners and identified beneficiaries in the region.

Earlier, DENR IX and DA IX jointly distributed 7,000 vegetable seedlings in Tigbao, ZDS; 16,000 indigenous forest trees and 8,400 vegetable seedlings to National Greening Program (NGP) benficiaries of Tinuyop, Leon Postigo, ZDN; and 3,000 vegetable seedlings to DENR IX personnel.

Meanwhile, the Municipality of Kumalarang, Zamboanga del Sur headed by Mayor Ruel G. Molina recieved on June 24 from DENR IX Regional Executive Director Crisanta Marlene P. Rodriguez 7,350 indigenous forest trees seedlings (Bakan and Lumbayao) and 7,200 vegetable seedlings (Upo, Pechay, Water Melon, Kangkong and Talong).

Mayor Molina said that he will be distributing the forest trees and vegetable seedlings to his constituents in the different barangays within his municipality for planting.

Photos courtesy of RPAO IX