I. Norte env’t rangers to increase; more planting activities to follow

As more Barangay Ranger Officers (BROs) are deployed, plans for training additional BROs and the planting of new seedlings are also undertaken.

BROs are mountain forest rangers that are hired to protect Ilocos Norte’s upland forests and watersheds. BRO recruitment stems from the province’s local greening program and was initiated in January 2013.

Currently, 206 BROs are in duty; 83 of them have already been deployed to patrol upland forests in Solsona, Dingras, and Marcos which forests are being stripped.

“More than 300 thousand seedlings have already been planted. Now, the town of Nueva Era is starting to deploy their own BROs,” said Hustler Garalde, Communiy Development Assistant I in the Energy and Natural Resources Office of the Provincial Government of Ilocos Norte.

Asked on the sufficiency of the current number of BROs, he added, “We are in need of more BROs to cover more upland forests in other towns and prevent any further deforestation.”

According to Garalde, the BROs also perform roadside planting activities along the Ilocos Norte-Apayao road and are to continue planting seedlings in their respective areas of designation during the rainy season.

The hiring of more BROs for every town is a priority effort of Governor Imee Marcos and is in line with her goal to address and find solutions for various climate change issues in the province such as landslides and frequent droughts.

Among PGIN’s efforts is the approval of the task force for climate change and the establishment of renewables facilities such as the upcoming 20 MW solar farm in Currimao and a wind project in Burgos has also broken ground yesterday, April 17.

“So far, Ilocos Norte is the only province in the entire Philippines with BROs, and we are still training more for future deployment” he added.

The program of recruiting BROs is also meant for job-generating purposes; BROs are given allowances of PhP 3000 taken from the Millennium Development Goals fund of PGIN. It is also tied-up with the National Greening Program of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources which was launched in 2010.—Ephraim Jovid Bulusan, CMO-Intern