Since The Plant The Trees And Light The Villages, Project Was Launched In January 2013,The Re-Planting Of The Sarangani Rainforest Has Accelerated Over 400% With 40,000 Trees Being Planted In March 2013.
By Caesar Fajardo,
To encourage the planting, the project administrator Bentley House International Corp. and the project sponsor Geoaxioma have collaborated to distribute free home solar kits to every family that plants 500 or more trees in the Sarangani Rainforest Area.
Department of Environment and Natural Resources forester, assigned to monitoring the project using GPS, reported 70,000 trees growing in Tagbungan, Sarangani, during his first visit, which is only one of the projects 5 Geoaxioma nurseries in different villages.
Families in each village form a Growers association and manage the purpose built covered and fenced nurseries, and are paid for the seeding, propagation, transportation and planting of the trees.
However the incentive of a home solar kit that will give the family renewable light for 20 years, has proven a marvelous incentive, some kits have an in-built cell phone charger so that the nursery committees can contact each other". reported Bentley House President, Jonathon Bentley-Stevens.
He said: "Bentley House International, has been undertaking Agro-Forestry projects to assist the indigenous tribes in Mindanao since 1994, but this is clearly the most successful project to-date".
The Geoaxioma project target is a Quarter Of A Million Trees, planted in the Sarangani Rainforest area and also growing in the 5 nurseries during year 2013 alone, with increases in subsequent years.
The tribal beneficiaries, the Blaan and Tagakaulo tribes have been verified by National Geographic as having occupied their tribal lands since 500BC, and this distribution of Solar Lights is seen as the most significant achievement in remote villages that are as much as 25 kilometers walk from the highway.
Now using solar lights, the children no longer breathe the smoke from the traditional kerosene filled rum bottle lights and can now do their homework at night for the first time.
Geoaxioma and Bentley House have additionally sponsored the building of community gathering sheds in each Geoaxioma sponsored village, and given free Solar Home lighting kits to each Village Gathering Shed.
Of the Mountain tribes 80% are reported to exist below the Philippine Poverty Line, with a typical family reportedly earning only $120 per year, gained from vegetable sales and bartering for food.
Mr. Stevens said: "The Geoaxioma project has uplifted every participating village with some families earning one years previous income in only one month, with Sabangan village boasting its first ever child going to college, and the president of Sabangan nursery Association sending two children to high school.
The top rating Sarangani planting families were, Paras family planting 10,550 trees, Mansigin family planting 2,400 trees and Milliama family planting 5,000 trees, a total of 40,000 trees were planted in March alone.