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Eight years ago, the Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement (PRRM), the country's oldest nongovernment organization (NGO), was able to make a difference in the lives of the upland residents of Camiguin Island in Mindanao. With funding from the UNFPA, the NGO was able to educate the people about reproductive health. Not only did it arrest the growing population problem in the Camiguin uplands, the program instituted by PRRM also helped the residents help themselves.
Two years later, the organization did it again: It aided them in implementing reforestation projects in three upland areas, all of which were either denuded or already on the way to being so. This, said Raymundo Agaton, PRRM's Camiguin branch general manager, was mainly caused by overpopulation and underdevelopment in the lowlands.
"People from the lowlands literally go up the mountains," he said, "leading to the nonsustainable cutting of trees and other wasteful activities."