NEDA IX starts planting trees
According to a Chinese proverb “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The next best time is now.” Such a timely passage that inspired the staff of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) IX to manifest strong support for the National Greening Program (NGP) of the government.
December 2, 2011, saw the early departure of NEDA IX staff for Ipil, Zamboanga Sibugay, for the tree planting activity at the municipality’s Doña Josefa Watershed. Although the office participated in a similar activity in the past, the recent tree planting took a more meaningful turn since the site is a watershed.
On February 24, 2011, President Benigno S. Aquino issued Executive Order No. 26 calling for the implementation of the National Greening Program as a national priority. It supports the policy of the state to pursue sustainable development for poverty reduction, food security, biodiversity conservation and climate change mitigation and adaptation. The program identifies the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to spearhead the planting of 1.5 billion trees in 1.5 million hectares of land nationwide between now until 2016.
On May 4, 2011, the Regional Development Council passed Resolution No. 013-11 that enjoins the RDC IX members to support the program and to collaborate for the adoption of a watershed in Zamboanga Peninsula. As secretariat of the RDC, the NEDA IX undertook the tree planting activity to also impart the idea of volunteerism especially in the area of climate change mitigation and adaptation.
The site is the lone watershed area of the municipality and tree planting activities thereat have been a felt need considering the benefits of trees to address soil erosion, and the effects of flooding and pollution while trees harbor wildlife and moderate warm temperature. Trees are vital in maintaining balance in the ecosystem and planting new ones can address the demand for clean water while they enhance the beauty of the surroundings.
The activity manifested unity among the local government unit, the various agencies, and the residents of the area who are also beneficiaries of the KR2 program which pursues productivity enhancement projects among its beneficiaries.
Mayor Eldwin M. Alibutdan was very grateful for the initiative, encouraging other sectors to engage in similar activity. NEDA IX Director Arturo G. Valero also asked the people not to cut the trees to preserve the environment while he emphasized the need to continue planting and caring for trees in other areas in the region.
The NEDA IX donated to the beneficiaries the farm tools used for the tree planting activity. The beneficiaries shall take charge in taking care of the newly planted trees. It is hoped that this intervention will find its way into the activities of other agencies and sectors not only to support the greening program but most importantly to help sustain life on planet earth! (Vilma M. Julian - NEDA IX)