TACURONG CITY—A thousand locals got involved in an early morning planting activity on Philippine Arbor Day, June 25, 2012.
 Barangay units and employees of different sectors simultaneously planted trees in both rural and urban areas of the city.

The City Environment and Natural Resources Office distributed 5, 700 seedlings to 19 barangays. Trees were planted strategically to reduce risks of flood and landslides.

Meanwhile, officials, employees, and members of the Local Government Unit, PNP, Task Force Talakudong, DOTC, LTO, BJMP, SK Water District, NFA, REACT, Rotary Club of Tacurong, Girl Scouts, DepEd, BFP, SSS, DTI, Knights of Columbus, NSO, LTO, and DENR planted 1,995 seedlings of white lawaan to replenish the hills of DECELA in Brgy. New Passi.

DECELA or Development Center for Ecology and Leadership Enhancement is a 5-hectare forest area with spring waters and cool, fresh air. Mayor Lina O. Montilla admitted that the area has high potential for local tourism and professional activities. However, she stressed that “careful planning should be done before doing further developments to conserve the area.”

“What we will do here today is for ourselves and for the younger generations. Let us take this seriously. The environment is everyone’s duty,” the Mayor firmly said.

The tree planting activity is in support of the administration’s National Greening Program or NGP. The program covers all provinces, cities and municipalities nationwide with an aim to plant 1.5 million trees from 2011 to 2016. Through NGP, the government hopes to ‘pursue sustainable development for poverty reduction, food security, biodiversity conservation, and climate change mitigation and adaptation.’

“Let us remember that we are not only doing this for compliance. We are obliged to protect nature’s beauty through tree planting and urban greening. This is to secure our future, our city, and our children,” said Mr. Alberto P. Sero Jr., City Local Government and Operations Officer.

To encourage crowd of 300, Councilor Psyche Sucaldito, head of the Committee for Environment, cited an Eastern philosophy: To live a fulfilled life, one must bear a child, write a book, and plant a tree.

On Philippine Arbor Day, a thousand Tacurongnons surely went home fulfilled, and hopefully with a realization that the environment is a lifetime responsibility. (Jezereel Louise C. Billano)