The NGP was first implemented in 2011 under the Aquino regime. This was extended and expanded in 2015 through Executive Order 193 (E-NGP) despite being declared a failure. It was continued by Duterte’s officials because its funds (more than ₱5 billion) serves as a milking cow for politicians.
The DENR bragged in 2019 that two million hectares were planted with 1.7 billion seedlings under the E-NGP between 2011 and 2019. However, it could not offer any proof when this was questioned in the Senate. Worse, according to experts, the country’s seven million hectares of remaining forest cover remain unchanged from 2011 to the present.
Reforestation is not the real aim of the E-NGP. The trees being planted, such as bamboo, coffee and falcata, are not endemic to local forests. This contradicts scientists’ recommendation that endemic trees should be planted to ensure ecological balance. These commercial trees are planted not to revive the forests but to be harvested and exported.