The Re-greening Movement and Baguio’s Classroom in the Forest (last of a series)-A A +A
By Art Tibaldo
Monday, October 7, 2013
I REMEMBER planting my first tree in our front yard during the Martial Law period under the Green Revolution Program of then President Ferdinand Marcos. The Agoho trees that my siblings and I planted in the early 70s grew tall and robust dwarfing the older coffee that already existed before it.
Unbelievably, there were even sightings of a white lady on it as narrated by some students who noticed something spooky when they glanced at its robust foliage. Since the Agohos were planted on the edge of a narrow footpath, its roots loosened the rip-rap stone wall and natural elements caused it to lean. Decades came to pass and an expansion of the Barangay alley necessitated the trees to be felled so that the growing number of people in the community can have better access to the narrow path.
In 2011, President Benigno S. Aquino launched the National Greening Program (NGP) as a government priority where the, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the Department of Agriculture (DA), and the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) would spearhead a massive nationwide operation to pursue sustainable development for poverty reduction, food security, biodiversity conservation, and climate change mitigation and adaptation.
As a massive forest rehabilitation program of the government, the NGP seeks to grow 1.5 billion trees in 1.5 million hectares nationwide within a period of six years, from 2011 to 2016.
Aside from being a reforestation initiative, the NGP is also seen as a climate change mitigation strategy as it seeks to enhance the country’s forest stock to absorb carbon dioxide, which is largely blamed for global warming. It is also designed to reduce poverty, providing alternative livelihood activities for marginalized upland and lowland households relating to seedling production and care and maintenance of newly-planted trees.
We planted about 500 seedlings in Barangay Ampucao of Itogon Benguet in 2011 with a personnel hired by the DENR to mark every tree planted using a Global Positioning System marking device. We again returned to our designated planting area his year and to our frustration and dismay, the hill where we planted trees was razed by fire obligating us to replant the number of trees that was lost. For love of nature, we will endeavour to revisit and re-plant in Ampucao with the hope that the spot we planted will regenerate into a forest.
The National Greening Program is likewise a convergence initiative that seeks to address poverty reduction, resource conservation and protection, productivity enhancement, climate change mitigation and adaptation, there is also a need to consolidate and harmonize all greening efforts and similar initiatives of the government, civil society and private sectors as stated in the Executive Order.
The National Greening Program shall plant some 1.5 Billion trees covering about 1.5 Million hectares for a period of six (6) years from 2011 to 2016, in public domains such as: forestlands, Mangrove and protected areas, ancestral domains, civil and military reservations and urban areas under the greening plan of the LGUs. Areas that are inactive and abandoned mine sites including other suitable lands provided for the private sector and civil society shall be harmonized under the NGP.
Just like the Green Revolution of Marcos of yesteryear, the NGP has a social mobilization component involving all students identified by the DepEd and CHED and all government employees to individually plant a required minimum of ten (10) seedlings per year in areas determined by the Convergence Initiative. Private sectors and civil society groups shall likewise be encouraged to participate in the NGP.
With all the natural calamities that we are experiencing nowadays aggravated by what we refer to as climate change such as flooding, erosion, heavy siltation, unusual weather pattern, crop damages and all, we should therefore waste no time to look at potential hazards and possible effects to the things that have been neglected in the environs. We have to assess the damages incurred to our property and determine whether these poses further risks and that we can still live with it. We can start by fixing the holes where rain can get in to our abode then check the gutters and canals where water runs if it won’t cause any damage to the foundation of our houses.
We must plant when it’s time to plant and not on a period preceding the summer months.
We do not need another Martial Law to compel ourselves to plant and make us realize that trees are important to our lives. The law of nature has already put a high toll on people’s lives, sad experiences and human sufferings reminding us that we must do something to prevent more damages to the world we live in.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on October 08, 2013.