REPUBLIC Act 10176, also known as the Arbor Day Act of 2012, was passed in 2012 in a bid "to combat the loss of our natural resources and rejuvenate our environment by undertaking nationwide tree planting activities and providing effective measures for their maintenance and sustainability." The Arbor Day Act was signed into law by former President Benigno S. Aquino III in 2012.
Prior to the enactment of the law, former president Manuel A. Roxas issued Proclamation 30 on July 30, 1947 declaring the second Saturday of September of each year as Arbor Day.
In Section 8 of the Arbor Day Act of 2012, it mandates "all able-bodied citizens of the Philippines, who are at least 12 years of age, shall be required to plant one tree every year."
Section 2 of the law also mandates all provinces, cities, and municipalities "to revive, by appropriate proclamation of their respective local chief executives, an Arbor Day at an appropriate fixed date every calendar year as shall be deemed suitable according to the proper time and season for planting trees in the respective provinces and their respective component municipalities or cities concerned."
The law has nothing but good intentions in terms of preserving and conserving the environment. However, it is surprising that some of us are just finding about this after it is signed seven years ago.
An article posted by Agrea Philippines, an agribusiness based in Marinduque, in 2018 about Arbor Day made rounds on social media. What caught the attention of many Filipino netizens is the fact that there is an existing law that requires Filipinos to plant trees each year.
We are reminded of what many environmentalists have been saying in the past.
"Naa tay existing laws, pero walay pangil. Ma-enforce lang nila ang balaod sa isa ka bulan, human ana, mawala na. If naa man, selected enforcement lang (There are existing laws but it has no teeth. If it is enforced, it will be only for a month then they'll forget about it or it will only be for a selected few)," Datu Bago Awardee and D'Bone Museum curator Darrell Blatchley said earlier.
There are a lot of environmental laws in the country that can benefit the environment in many good ways. Sadly, these laws have not been enforced properly and with an iron fist. We can see right before our eyes the numerous environmental violations people and businesses are doing.
How can we expect our country to be a steward of the Creator when we cannot take care of the environment? How can we ensure that the environment will still be good for the future generations if the laws are not properly enforced or followed?