THE German government has extended financial grant to protect the forest in Panay, one of the largest islands in the Visayas region, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) said Friday.
Germany agreed to provide 4 million euros or roughly P200 million for the Forest and Climate Protection Panay Phase II.
The implementation agreement was signed Thursday between Environment Secretary Ramon Paje and GIZ Director and Principal Advisor on Climate Program Dr. Bernd Markus Liss. German Ambassador Thomas Ossowski witnessed the signing ceremony.
With the accord, Panay Island is assured that its forests and their biological diversities are well protected during the next three years and nine months.
Panay Island is the sixth largest island in the country and the third largest in the Visayas, next only to Samar and Negros Islands. It is comprised of four provinces, namely: Aklan, Antique, Capiz and Iloilo.
"We are deeply appreciative of the continuing assistance of the German government to the country, particularly the DENR to ensure the protection of the remaining blocks of forests in the Panay Mountain Range, including the varied biodiversity therein," Paje said.
"Germany has remained consistently involved in the country's forest conservation efforts not only through GIZ but also other multilateral funding organizations like the Global Environment Facility which is a significant contributor to our foreign-assisted projects on forestry."
For his part, Ossowski said the project is another step in the "excellent cooperation" between the two countries, adding that the Philippines has become a "strategic partner of Germany in biodiversity protection and climate change efforts."
He also described the country’s rich biodiversity as a "garden of Eden, where one can really admire God’s creation, and worthwhile to protect."
The project seeks to conserve the last remaining larger block of natural forest with globally important biodiversity on Panay Island. (SDR/Sunnex)