Understanding environmental reality through field visits: Hulas program participants visit government agencies in Malaybalay and Maramag

From August 15 to 17, 2016, the youth of Upper Pulangi under the Hulas program visited government agencies in Malaybalay and Maramag, Bukidnon. The field trip aims to provide a better understanding of the environmental reality in the province and inform the participants on how the actions of people living in the uplands affect those in the city and vice versa.

The importance of taking care of the forest and planting trees was also emphasized in the lecture given by the resource persons from City Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO), Bukidnon Environment and Natural Resources Office (BENRO), and National Power Corporation (NAPOCOR).

Forester Carlos G. Sioquim from the BENRO gave an orientation on watershed management where he discussed how they are able to determine as from which watershed water from the uplands flow.

Engr. Noel Villela and Engr. Alvin Asuncion of NAPOCOR showed an audio-visual presentation on how the Pulangi IV hydropower plant in Maramag, Bukidnon operates.

During the open forum, the significance of a healthy forest specifically the trees was reiterated and the importance of what the youth in Bendum are doing with assisted natural regeneration.

It was shown in the presentation how soil erosion caused the buildup of silt which already seemed like a small island in the basin of the hydropower plant.

In his parting words, Engr. Villela encouraged the youth of Upper Pulangi to come together and work with their community in rehabilitating the forest in Upper Pulangi not only for their generation but also for more generations to come.

Part of forest rehabilitation is the selection of tree species and diversity.  Species and diversity have to be considered as only some species enable local forest to expand and regenerate. For instance, mahogany, falcatta and rubber trees have their place in the local economy but do not sustain the environment the way natural forest does.

With this initiative, the indigenous community in Bendum continues to contribute to the ecological services of the Pulangi watershed and sustain the forest.

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