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The Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines’ (ULAP), through its President, Gov. Alfonso V. Umali, forged a partnership to formally launch the Puno ng Buhay Program with ABS-CBN Lingkod Kapamilya Bantay Kalikasan Foundation Inc. (ALKFI) Chairman, Ms. Regina Paz Lopez, ABS-CBN Corporation Free TV Head Ms. Cory Vidanes, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang, Jr., Bantay Kalikasan Foundation (BKF) Executive Director, Ms. Mary Elizabeth Delgado, President and Chief Operating Officer Richard Tantoco of Energy Development Corporation (EDC) and representatives from the Department of Agriculture (DA) and Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).The MOA signing was held at ABSCBN ELJ Communications Center, Quezon City last July 9, 2015.

The Puno ng Buhay Program is a countrywide tree planting/growing program for the benefit of the environment, the communities and the country in general. The initial sites that will serve as project models for replication are Marikina Watershed, Oriental Mindoro,Samar, Leyte and North Cotabato. The program’s goal is to conserve, enhance and expand the existing patches of natural forests in the area through rainforestation by planting indigenous and threatened forest species for biodiversity enhancement and wildlife habitat. This will also create environmental awareness and advocacy by involving all sectors of society.

ULAP, as one of the lead partners of this program, shall serve as an advocate partner to the Local Government Units (LGUs) and shall support the information dissemination and advocacy campaign through its networks of leagues of local governments, and its other information platforms.

PinoyWISE Market Place Events also took place from June 20-22 which showcases the various agri-business and investment opportunities in the provinces of Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon, Tarlac, Mindoro, and Bohol catered to Filipino migrants and their families. Overall, the event enabled stakeholders from public and private sectors, civil society, and development community to engage and identify opportunities for collaboration, as well as, to disseminate the latest trends and best practices related to Overseas Filipino remittances, and their potential to contribute to rural development in the Philippines.

The Global Forum and PinoyWISE Market Place events are part of the on-going project of ULAP entitled “Scaling up Initiatives in Mobilizing Migrant Resources towards Agriculture Development in the Philippines” in partnership with Atikha with the grant support from IFAD. ULAP serves as the prime advocacy partner of the project which engages at least 7 pilot provincial sites and currently being until December 2016.

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