PROVINCIAL Environment and Natural Resources Office (Penro) Pampanga chief Laudemir Salac promised support for the propagation of betis trees (isonandra betis) to help boost Guagua town's effort to bring back the endemic plant in the Betis District.
Seven barangays in Gugua’s Betis District were once part of the now-dissolved Betis town. During the Spanish-Colonial period, Betis was an independent town that had its own autonomy as a municipality. Due to migration of its inhabitants to the nearby Guagua during the American Period, it was merged into a town in 1904 under Act 943.
The former town had been named after the betis tree, which grew endemically in the area. Today, the trees had almost vanished from the town if not for the recent efforts by the local government spearheaded by its mayor.
Salac has instructed his staff to study the available betis trees at the Guagua Artist Haven in Barangay Santa Ursula along the Megadike for possible tissue culture. He added the Penro will look into ways to speed up the propagation of young trees for planting.
Betis wood had been used in making bridges and as material for wooden ships. In Spanish-Colonial period, the former town had been a hub for local boatbuilding. The industry later shifted to wood sculpture and carving.