By ALFREDO P HERNANDEZ
THE tree-planting program in Mambulao has topped the 100,000-tree mark.
The 100,000th seedling was planted on Saturday, August 24, at Baranggay Pag-asa, where the program debuted last July 21.
The tree-planters returned to Pag-asa on Saturday and transplanted a total of 5,400 bakawan trees, thus sealing the first 100,000 trees, or 10 percent, of the one million trees targeted over the next three years and covering about 2,000 hectares of denuded mangrove areas and forests.
A day before, on August 23, about 70 families at Baranggay Salvacion went out to plant a total of 35,000 trees, with each family accounting for 5,000 young trees.
It was the biggest number of young tress planted in a single day.
Sangguniang Bayan Kagawad Artem Andaya, praised the total cooperation of the Salvacion tree-planters.
He said the Baranggay Salvacion families came in full force and delivered 35,000 trees in one day.
On Monday, the tree-planters returned to Pag-asa for the third time to cover more mangrove areas with 13,300 young bakawan.
With this, the program has now hit the 113,300 tree-mark since July 21.
The activity in Pag-asa was spearheaded by the local baranggay led by Punong Baranggay Arnel Espinosa and local groups such as the SPACFI-ICDP Partner Families, YES-O of Pag-asa Elementary School, the local unit of the Philippine National Police (PNG) and Bantay-Dagat-Mambulao.
Andaya, who is the prime mover of the tree-planting exercise, told MWBuzz: “It was very inspiring … young and old … even the tribal community of our brothers Kabihug, came forward to plant trees …”
“I am appealing to my fellow Mambulaoans across the globe to help us sustain the tree-planting activities.
“I only costs one peso to raise a tree seedling.
“Sa ngayon po ay nagpapalaki pa tayo ng seedlings for forest trees habang ginagawa ito ay naka focus muna kami sa replanting ng mga mangrove areas …sinasamantala po natin ang panahon ng pamumunga ng mga bakawan ngayong September … ang buto ay ating patutubuin sa nursery.. pag naubos napo ang mga mangrove seedlings… pupunta naman po tayo sa mga denuded mountain forests …”
Recently, the program tapped the Kabihug tribal community for the tree-planting in Sitio Kalibigahu, alongside volunteers from the community where tree-planting was carried out.
Andaya said that the tribal community would become a permanent fixture in the activity.
He said they will try to carry out at least two planting gigs every month, involving students and baranggay residents in the area where tree-planting would take place.
He appealed to Mambulaoans based locally and those overseas to help sustain the program which aims to plant at least 300,000 a year for three years.
Mayor Ricarte (Dong) Padilla said that the local government seeks to replant the municipality’s mangrove areas to encourage the return of marine life to Mambulao Bay.
He said: "We have more or less 44,000 hectares of territorial waters at Jose Panganiban, and ideally 30% of that area should be covered by mangroves so that reproduction process of our marine resources are not hindered … wala pa po sa 10% ang mangrove areas natin kaya ito po ang isa sa mga dahilan kung bakit mahina na ang huli ng ating mga mangingisda ... this may be ambitious dream, but I know we can do it! Together we can bring back a greener and cleaner Mambulao...."
Padilla hopes to cover the targeted 2,000 hectares before his second term ends in 2016.
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