Climate Change Commissioner Albert Dela Cruz Sr. plants a narra seedling during a tree-planting activity conducted in Sitio Binutas in Barangay Tala in Orani, Bataan last May. (Photo supplied)

MANILA — Climate Change Commissioner Albert Dela Cruz acclaimed the House of Representatives for its unanimous approval on the third and final reading of House Bill (HB) 8568, which aims to provide mechanisms that would ensure the effective implementation of a nationwide tree-planting program.
Authored by representatives Dante Garcia (People’s Reform Party), Noel Rivera (Tarlac), Eleanor Bulut-Begtang (Apayao), Alfonso Umali Jr. (Oriental Mindoro), Ciriaco Gato, Jr. (Batanes), Gerardo Valmayor Jr. (Negros Occidental), Marlyn Primicias-Agabas (Pangasinan), Mark Go (Baguio City), Joseph Stephen Paduano (Abang Lingkod) and Manuel Jose Dalipe (Zamboanga City), HB 8568 was approved with a vote of 233 against three during last week’s plenary session.

The proposed measure seeks to amend various sections of the Republic Act (RA) 10176 or the ‘Arbor Day Act of 2012’.

Commissioner Dela Cruz underscored the vital role of forest areas to nature’s balance that maintains and sustains ecology and biodiversity that in turn maintain and sustains our lives and livelihood.

“There is an (urgent) need for a corroborated effort to combat the loss of our natural resources and rejuvenate our environment by rehabilitating our degraded forest land areas, improving soil fertility and land productivity and reducing soil erosion, especially in the rural and upland areas. (This we can achieve by) undertaking nationwide tree-planting activities and providing effective measures for their maintenance and sustainability,” the climate official quoted from the revised Section 2 of RA 10176, as proposed by HB 8568.

House Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez explained the importance of the proposed measure, noting that the law is in keeping with President Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr.’s National Development Plan (NDP), a portion of which aims to initiate climate action for the country to properly respond to the impacts of global warming and achieve resiliency and self-sufficiency.

“Through this bill, we recognize the vital role and importance of trees in ecological stability,” Romualdez enthused even as he added that “people need trees more than trees need people.”