Green paradise, livelihood, and eco-tourism for Mindoreños May. 21, 2013 “There is no better legacy than making Oriental Mindoro a green paradise for future generations,” said Rep. Reynaldo Umali during the Unified Tree of Life (UTOL) program held recently at Barangay Ipil in Bongabong town to mark this year’s Earth Day celebration.  “For the first time in the history of politics in our province, there is unity in Oriental Mindoro.  This provides the impetus for us to push for the legacy program that is UTOL  – a ‘reef to ridge’ development scheme that seeks not only the planting of plants and trees from the mangroves to the mountains of this province, but also the advancement of livelihood for its people, as well as the promotion of tourism for local and foreign visitors.” He acknowledged the participation of government and people’s organizations in the multi-sector approach needed to ensure UTOL’s success.   Through the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the Livelihood Enhancement through Agro-Forestry (LEAF) Program volunteered to provide training and seedling propagation support for UTOL. UTOL – which is Filipino for sibling – also stands for Congressman Umali and his brother Alfonso Jr. who is governor of Oriental Mindoro. The LEAF livelihood program is designed to encourage local farmers to better utilize their land and establish sustainable income, growing over time as more crops reach harvesting age. LEAF has already generated considerable interest among local farmers and other Mangyan indigenous communities. It has linked with international partners for coffee and rubber production. LEAF partners, which include inmates in the Sablayan Penal Colony in Occidental Mindoro and the Mangyan indigenous peoples from both sides of Mindoro island, have propagated some 200,000 plants.  The LEAF Project is responsible for the planting of  over 192,000 trees over nearly 290 hectares of land. “The governor and I encourage and challenge everyone to make sure that the planting of trees in, and the cleaning and greening of, our surroundings are done not only during special occasions like Earth Day but on a more regular basis,” RU stressed. “Our cooperation and vigilance are very important to ensure our success,” Congressman Umali said.
Intex Resources Philippines Inc. 2014