TO CELEBRATE Arbor Day, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) yesterday planted more than 5,000 seedlings of indigenous or native tree species in seven sites in Central Visayas.

A total of 600 volunteers from local government units, national government agencies, people's organizations and DENR personnel took part in the simultaneous tree-planting activity, which covered a total of 10 hectares of identified National Greening Program (NGP) sites in the four provinces of Region 7.

In a press statement, DENR 7 Executive Director Isabelo Montejo urged all sectors including government-owned and controlled corporations, private companies, schools and civil society groups to participate in the annual observance every June 25.

“Forests are home to more than half of the species living on land and help slow global warming by storing and sequestering carbon,” said Montejo. He said that forests also help regulate rainfall and provide wood resources.

Cebu

In Cebu City, a total of 200 volunteers planted at least 1,000 molave and narra tree seedlings in the mountain barangay of Taptap, Cebu City, which is an NGP site.

Officials from government agencies such as the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC 7), Department of Agriculture (DA 7) and the Department of Science and Technology (DOST 7) participated in the planting.

Arbor Day, Montejo said, is “an effort to bring back the lost forest cover of the country.”

The NGP seeks to plant 1.5 billion seedlings on 1.5 million hectares of public land nationwide from 2011 to 2016. This target is more than twice the government's accomplishment in the past 25 years of about 730,000 hectares. (With PR)