The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) got the House of Representatives’ nod for a higher 2018 budget.
DENR’s budget proposal for next year, amounting to P27.1 billion, is 1.77 percent higher compared to this year’s allocation of P26.6 billion.
Secretary Roy Cimatu expressed gratitude to the lawmakers for their continued support to the DENR, as well as to Rep. Corazon Nunez-Malanyaon of the first district of Davao Oriental, for sponsoring the agency’s budget at the plenary.
He said the allocation would enable the department to give vital support to the goals of the 2017-2022 Philippine Development Plan.
“With the budget, the DENR will work towards ensuring ecological integrity and improving the socio-economic conditions of resource-based communities by sustaining biodiversity and the functioning of ecosystem services, improving environmental quality, and increasing the adaptive capacity and resilience of ecosystems,” Cimatu said.
The Enhanced National Greening Program (eNGP) gets the bulk of the budget with P7.1 billion, which seeks to plant some 198 million seedlings in 210,852 hectares.
From 2016 up to June this year, the DENR has recorded a total of 303,188 hectares of new plantations under eNGP, generating some one million jobs in the process.
The government hopes to reforest some 1.2 million hectares, from 2017 to 2022.
Under its 2018 budget, DENR earmarked P1.25 billion for its intensified environmental protection program to pursue clean water, air and solid waste management; P1.08 billion for biodiversity conservation and the scaling-up of its Coastal and Marine Ecosystems Management Program; P634 million for forest protection and anti-illegal logging campaign; P585.5 million for land administration and management and P399.3 million for geohazard mapping, groundwater assessment and responsible mining.
For its attached agencies, the National Mapping and Resource Information Authority, National Water Resource Board, and Palawan Council for Sustainable Development, will get P1.46 billion, P145 million and P100 million, respectively.
In a related development, NIA’s proposed budget for 2018 is 6 percent higher than the P38.3 billion allotted for the irrigation sector this year.
The bulk of the approved P26.8-billion budget will be for the restoration, repair, and rehabilitation of existing irrigation systems and construction and development of new irrigation systems.
The agency is also looking into the establishment of pump and special irrigation systems.
New irrigation areas
NIA Administrator Ricardo Visaya previously said that the increased budget will be used to accelerate and complete ongoing projects and quickly develop and increase new irrigation areas.
“We want to increase the budget to fund the construction of our dams. We still have about 40.68 percent to be developed and we would like to fast track the development to help achieve rice self-sufficiency,” he added.