By Rjhay E. Laurea
MANILA — The Department of Environment and Natural Resources-National Capital Region (DENR-NCR) led around 400 volunteers from various government agencies and non-government organizations (NGOs) in the simultaneous tree-planting activity at the La Mesa Watershed Reservation (LMWR) in Quezon City in celebration of the Philippine Arbor Day last Saturday, June 25.
In their official news release on Wednesday, July 6, DENR-NCR Executive Director Jacqueline A. Caancan said the annual event serves as a platform for “professionals from different sectors of society to meet and work closely together on environment-oriented undertakings.”
The activity highlighted the importance of partnership and volunteerism among career professionals in the national government agencies, including those in NGOs and the private sector, in implementing Proclamation No. 643 signed in 2004, which institutionalized the observance of Philippine Arbor Day every June 25.
Proclamation No. 643 also underscored the need to declare one day each year for the conduct of tree planting activities to promote a healthier ecosystem for people. This year, about 2,700 native tree seedlings were planted in three sites within the La Mesa Watershed.
Volunteers who took part in the event were from the Professional Regulations Commission (PRC), Civil Service Commission (CSC), Philippine National Police (PNP), Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Boy Scouts of the Philippines (BSP), Society of Filipino Foresters Incorporated (SFFI), and the DENR-Association of Career Executives (DENR-ACE).
Of the 2,700 tree seedlings, 1,700 tree seedlings were planted by volunteers from the PNP-Quezon City Police District and the Philippine Air Force; 650 seedlings by DENR-ACE and DENR workers from the Central and NCR offices; 250 seedlings by PRC-SFFI; and 100 seedlings by BSP.
The seedlings included Narra (Pterocarpus indicus), Molave (Vitex parviflora), Bignay-kalabaw (Antidesma ciliatum C.Presl), and Malakalumpit (Terminalia calamansanai).
DENR-NCR Forester Roel V. Galibu said the annual tree planting activity and those done by other volunteers throughout the planting season in the past years have contributed to the watershed’s improving forest cover, which now stands at 1,400 hectares.
Galibu, who has been overseeing the DENR’s re-greening initiatives in LMWR since 2015, said there are still 600 hectares of open areas that need to be planted with trees. The DENR-NCR and its partner organizations have already reforested about 500 hectares.
LMWR has a total area of 2,659 hectares, 75 percent or 2,000 hectares of which cover its watershed area, while the remaining 25 percent or 659 hectares cover the basin area.
Former DENR OIC Secretary Joselin Marcus Fragada lauded the initiatives of DENR-ACE, saying its efforts bolstered the DENR’s thrust to usher in a pervasive culture among career executives in the entire bureaucracy that embraces and advances the principles of sustainability in performing their duties.
DENR-ACE is composed of officials and employees who are Career Executive Service Officers and Eligibles.
“The support the DENR enjoys from DENR-ACE and those of other participating professional organizations in the service is an indispensable force in steering careerism in the public sector to take a steady course towards a more environment-oriented direction,” Fragada said.
“DENR-ACE has also contributed to the DENR’s strong partnership with other national government organizations,” he said, citing the issuance of PRC Resolution No. 1251, Series of 2020, as a powerful manifestation of the partnership.
The PRC resolution declares every 25th of June as PRC Nationwide Tree Planting Day and makes it a part of the PRC Week Celebration.
The resolution provides that each professional who actively took part in the event will be given three-unit points as stated in Republic Act No. 10912, otherwise known as the “Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Act of 2016,” an act which requires CPD as the requirement for the renewal of Professional Identification Card of all registered and licensed professionals under the regulation of the PRC. (ai/mtvn)