SNAP, Banaue LGU restore abandoned rice terraces in barangay

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Barangay Poitan in Banaue, Ifugao looks forward to the annual harvest festival this August, as they celebrate their first harvest after the successful productivity restoration of abandoned rice terraces in their area.

This was possible through PUNLA, an environment initiative of renewable energy solutions provider SN Aboitiz Power-Magat (SNAP-Magat) in partnership with four Ifugao municipalities: Hingyon, Mayoyao, Lagawe, and Banaue. PUNLA which stands for Partnership in Uplifting upland Natural resources, Livelihood, and Assets began in 2018 and aimed to protect and restore the Upper Magat Watershed and bolster its surrounding communities.

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The Banaue project leg is a three-year project covering the rehabilitation of 6.41 hectares (has.) of rice terraces in Brgy. Poitan and reforestation of 48.44 has. also in Brgy. Poitan as well as in Brgys. Amganad and Balawis. Around 4.4 has. of the rice terraces, which have been unproductive for about five years now, have been restored while restoration activities continue for the remaining area.

The project in Banaue broke ground on February 6, 2020. Since its launch, land preparation including clearing and weeding, tilling, planting, and other maintenance activities have been done. On top of the local government unit’s earmarked funds, SNAP has set aside P4.3 million of which P1.3 million was already released. For 2020, SNAP-Magat and Banaue targeted the rehabilitation of the abandoned rice terraces and reforestation of 2.41 has. in Brgy Poitan; while a reforestation project for 20.73 has. is targeted in Brgy. Balawis, Banaue in 2021.

“Much like its English term ‘seedling,’ PUNLA promises to grow even more. Hopefully, from this milestone will also come livelihood and enterprise development opportunities for communities within the watershed throughout the rest of the project’s implementation,” said Joseph S. Yu, president and CEO of SNAP-Magat.

With cooperation and assistance from Banaue Mayor John Wesley Dulawan and PDO III Mr. Andres Ordillo, SNAP’s PUNLA-Upper Magat Banaue project progresses into the year despite COVID-19’s current limitations. Other project activities such as procurement of agricultural support equipment, rehabilitation of water supply systems, and more land preparation activities for reforestation are ongoing.

SNAP-Magat is a joint venture between SN Power of Norway and AboitizPower. It owns and operates the 360- to 388-MW Magat hydro on the border of Isabel and Ifugao and the 8.5-MW Maris hydro in Isabela.

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