The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in Region IX supports women-led organizations under its gender and development program who share the same passion for conservation and planting trees.

This as people organizations from Salaan Buffer Zone Association Inc. and Tolosa Buffer Zone Association Inc. all from Zamboanga City and both National Green Program (NGP) beneficiaries led by women leaders, last Thursday June 9 recieved thousands of forest trees and vegetable seedlings from DENR IX under its Alay Gulay and Binhi ng Buhay project.

Regional Executive Director Crisanta Marlene P. Rodriguez who visited the area said that her office chose to provide free vegetables and forest trees seedlings to these POs led by women who, despite challenges in the implementation of the program, maintained a good track record in terms of accomplishing their work.

"Women’s role in conservation in the Philippines has been proven to be effective. Studies show that women are more productive with the right motivation and training. It can empower women, increase opportunities for employment, increase women’s ability to plan for their families and result in more progressive outcomes for conservation. And with partnerships strengthened, we will see more positive environmental outcomes," she said.

Moreover, Director Rodriguez said "the vegetable seedlings can help in ensuring that food is always available in the home especially during this times of the COVID 19 pandemic. By eating locally-grown vegetables, it not only mitigates hunger but also provide the necessary nutritional needs for a healthy living and reduces an individual's carbon footprint".

RED Rodriguez added that the planting of forest trees can help mitigate the effects of climate change in terms of cleansing the air of carbon, prevent soil erosion and enhance biodiversity in the area.

The two POs each recieved 5,400 assorted vegetable seedlings (tomatoes, pechay, talong, kangkong and watermelon), 1,470 Mahogany and 1,500 Mangium seedlings.

Tolosa Buffer Zone Association, Inc. President Lorna Guerero expressed her heartful thanks for recieving the seedlings and that she will be distributing them to her members so that they can start planting in their backyard.

Mrs. Nenita Delos Reyes Ebol who is the President of Salaan Buffer Zone Association also expressed her gratitude saying that the seedlings will be a big help to them especially during this COVID 19 pandemic as this would be an additional source of food once they establish their backyard garden.

Present during the distribution of the seedlings were Zamboanga City CENR Officer Ariel Barrientos, Protect Wildlife Community Mobilization Specialist Rodolfo Saavedra, POs members, CENRO ZC staff and NGP Extension Officers.