Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and Secretary Mario G. Montejo of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) will lead the groundbreaking ceremony for the DENR-DOST clonal nursery at the DOST compound in Gen. Santos Avenue, Bicutan, Taguig City slated on Thursday (April 12).

According to DENR-National Capital Region Executive Director Nilo B. Tamoria, the establishment of the 1.5-hectare clonal nursery will give the National Greening Program (NGP) in Metro Manila a big boost.

NGP is the country's massive reforestation program launched by President Aquino last year, which seeks to plant 1.5 billion trees covering 1.5 million hectares of land nationwide until 2016.

Tamoria said that with the clonal facility, the production of high quality planting materials and disease-free planting stocks for the NGP is assured, aside from being more economical as compared with the usual practice of procuring planting materials.

According to Tamoria, the clonal facility will be equipped with the following features: a laboratory where cutting of specimens will take place; a rooting propagation house where cuttings will be rooted; a recovery house chamber, pot beds or hardening area; soil sterilization, potting and watering area; and water storage and pump area.

Small to medium sized indigenous and endemic forestry species and ornamental plants which can enhance aesthetic value and minimize pollution are the priority species for cloning in the said facility.

DENR records indicate that some 69.3 million tree seedlings have been planted under the NGP in more than 118,000 hectares. Of the total planted seedlings, five million consisted of indigenous species like yakal, kamagong, mayapis, molave, tindalo. toog and Philippine teak.

For this year, the NGP aims to raise about 114 million seedlings to be planted in over 200,000 hectares. Of the total seedlings, 14 million will consist of native tree species, according to him.