CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – One of the biggest bus companies in the country is among the first public transport operators to join the tree-planting activity mandated by the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board-10 (LTFRB-10) in Malasag, Barangay Cugman, this city on Saturday.
Rural Transit Mindanao, Inc. (RTMI) responded to the order of the DOTr that requires public utility vehicle owners to help in the reforestation efforts of the government by planting trees before their franchise application is issued or renewed.
RTMI is one of the subsidiaries of the Yanson Group of Bus Companies (YGBC), among the major bus operators in Southeast Asia with operations all over the country, plying several routes in Mindanao.
Celer Estologa, YGBC legal and media relations manager for Mindanao, said the company management has pledged to support the reforestation program of the government.
He said YGBC is not just complying with the order but is dedicated to contributing to the environmental program of the DOTr.
He said YGBC is mindful of the situation in the country where forest cover has been consistently dwindling, leading to disasters such as flooding and landslide.
“This activity is no longer a requirement but a moral obligation to save mountains from deforestation,” Estologa said.
Aminoden Guro, LTFRB-10 regional director, said the order was issued by DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade following the devastation brought by typhoons that battered the Philippines recently.
Through memorandum circular 2020-076, Guro said is it now mandatory for all PUV operators who want to apply for or renew their franchise to plant trees.
He said LTFRB-10 has coordinated with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, who will provide the seedlings, and the local environmental offices in cities, towns, and provinces, who will identify the areas for tree-planting.
“We will not entertain franchise application or renewal of PUV cooperatives or corporations if the DENR or local environmental offices will not give them a certification that they have planted trees or mangroves in their area,” Guro said.
He said PUV operators are required to plant one seedling per unit of their fleet. (PNA)