CITY OF TABUK, Kalinga- Seventy-seven livelihood enhancement support (LES) projects proposed under the Integrated Natural Resources and Environment Management Program (INREMP) are ready for implementation as soon as the “No Objection Letter” from the Asian Development Bank is issued.

Noel Barrientos, OIC provincial environment and natural resources officer, said all the proposals were endorsed to the Watershed Management Council at DENR central office.

LES is an intervention to make members of people’s organizations (POs) productive while waiting for the harvest period from their plantations under INREMP. It is intended to enable both Indigenous People’s Organizations (IPO) and PO and their members increase their short, medium, and long term incomes from more sustainable and market- oriented livelihoods or enterprises. These enterprises will help the individuals and the IPO/PO generate income while contributing to the overall improvement of the watersheds.

“We make sure our partner POs will not stay idle while they wait to harvest products they raise on their plantations,” Barrientos said.

There are 69 proposals under the DENR-led LES with total cost of P24.6 million and nine under the Dept. of Trade and Industry (DTI) -led LES with P20 million total requested funds, Barrientos said.

DENR-led LES ranges from provision of agricultural and processing machines to construction of warehouses and multi-purpose pavements while DTI-led LES covers enhancement of coffee, heirloom, banana, and corn products.

It can be recalled that DENR and DTI signed a memorandum of agreement for the implementation of livelihood projects under INREMP. Community consultations and validation of proposals were conducted in cooperation with the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples.

The INREMP is one of the major projects of DENR to address unsustainable watershed management in four priority upper river basins in the country including the Chico River in the Cordillera. It aims “to reduce and reverse degradation of watersheds and associated environmental services caused by forest denudation and unsustainable farming practices.” The project’s primary funding sources are the Asian Development Bank and the International Fund for Agricultural Development. (JDP/PAB-PIA CAR, Kalinga)