MAASIM, sarangani (February 2, 2011) – The Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO) launches the international year of forests and its local campaign for environmental conservation and protection with Conal Holdings Corporation Wednesday (February 2).
PENRO’s Forest and Management Section (FMS) joined Conal’s agro-forestry project of 7,500 hectares in the hinterlands of Maasim instead of its tree-planting activity in Alabel seeing its more direct effect and bigger impact in the environment with its national re-greening program.
“These grasslands are generally acidic so we have to plant trees to protect our mountains and the highland communities like what you have here,” forester and FMS Chief Jesus Boja said.
“This year is the international year of forests so I hope we will all cooperate and do our part to protect our remaining forests by planting trees. This is an agro-forestry project by the DENR and Conal so with this, I thank the Conal Holdings (Corporation) for their concern to environment,” he added.
“There are 14,000 hectares of watershed area in Maasim that needs to be rehabilitated,” Conal project assurance manager Rommel Tomas Falgui said.
“7,220 hectares will be Conal’s reforestation project and 280 hectares we intended for the riverbank rehabilitation.”
The day was the turn-over ceremony of the two-classroom building to the Department of Education as “A Gift of donation from Conal to the Children of Langaran”.
In October last year, Conal started constructing a primary school in Langaran and another one in Lebe in partnership with the local government, after finding significant statistics of children not attending school.
“We are very happy that Conal and the Alcantara help us to have a school here in Langaran,” Kablacan barangay captain Allan Ambrad said. Neighboring Sitio Kyumad in barangay Amsipit has a complete elementary school but ten kilometers away from the community.
Langaran is a community of the indigenous Blaan and Tboli. The school site was donated by Eyoy Malo, a native of the place. Very remote to the town site at 22 kilometers from the main road, it is seldom reached by transportation and upland products are brought to the market by horse.
Langaran is 870 meters above sea level and the climate is still cold at high noon. The primary school has 117 Grade I pupils.
“I want to be an engineer someday and work in the city to help my parents,” 16-year old Grade I pupil Sadam Ontong said. Sadam’s parents plow a small farm planted with cassava and corn.
Three other 15 years old are among the 117 pupils attending Grade I in Langaran Primary School.
“Without the Conal, we don’t have a school here,” mayor Jose Zamorro said. Assistant Schools Division superintendent Isagani Cruz said DepEd- Sarangani will build an additional school building here next year.
Conrado Ladislawa and Alcantara Foundation, Incorporated, donated school uniform for the pupils last Christmas. Mahintana Foundation will donate chairs for the classrooms.
Langaran has 12 surrounding communities benefiting the Conal school. The school site is overlooking a portion of the Seguil riverbank rehabilitation area.
During the day, Conal and local officials led pupils to the ceremonial planting of 50 mahogany seedlings from Mahintana Foundation at the forest gutters near the school site.
Falgui said Conal will sponsor parent mentoring sessions in partnership with the province’s Quality Education for Sarangani Today (QUEST) to maximize community participation for the education of their children. (Russtum G. Pelima/SARANGANI INFORMATION OFFICE)