Celso calls for massive Arbor Day participation PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 23 June 2011 13:45

Mayor Celso Lobregat has called on government and private sectors including the academe, business, police, military and religious groups to actively participate in the series of activities that the city government has lined up in celebration of this year’s Arbor Day on Saturday, June 25, dubbed as “Arbor Day na Ciudad de Zamboanga.”

In a meeting with all the stakeholders yesterday afternoon, Lobregat stressed that the city-initiated tree planting activity will be conducted on a year-round basis, where trees are planted at proper spacing and places, and maintained.

“Ours is not a photo-ops or for a show. Our tree planting scheme is not only during Arbor Day. We plant trees all year round, we water them, we nurture them and we replace those that do not survive,” Lobregat said, citing observations that there had been tree planting activities in the past by various groups but they turned out to be only for a show where trees are not properly maintained.
“Everything should converge and harmonize,” he added.

This year’s Arbor Day celebration also coincides with the start of the planting season pursuant to Ordinance No. 281 and the launching of the National Greening Program as mandated by President Benigno S. Aquino III through Executive Order No. 26 dated February 24, 2011.

In Zamboanga City, the Arbor Day activities will kick off with a commemorative program at 7 am at the Freedom Park in Abong-Abong.
After the program which will be led by Mayor Lobregat, House Deputy Speaker and District 1 Rep. Beng Climaco-Salazar and District 2 Rep. Erbie Fabian, the participants will then proceed to the different tree/mangrove planting sites.

Three areas have been identified for the purpose. They include the 1.5-hectare forestland in Abong-Abong to be planted to 3,750 seedlings, mangrove planting in Barangay Victoria covering 1.2 hectares with 3,000 propagules, 1.5-hectare mangrove in Mampang with 2,000 propagules, and rehabilitation of the 0.5-hectare watershed in Manicahan with 1,000 seedlings.

To highlight the celebration,  a memorandum of agreement will be signed by the city government, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and other concerned agencies concerning the Greening Program, a nationwide activity that aims to plant 1.5 billion trees in about 1.5 million hectares of land nationwide for the next six years.

As this developed, Mayor Lobregat has issued an executive order declaring 24 mostly acacia trees as “Heritage Trees” and “Century Trees,” bringing  to 82 the total number of such trees since 2009.

Executive No. CL 406-2011 formalized the declaration of three Century Trees and 21 Heritage Trees.
The 100-year old trees composed of two narras and an acacia can be found at WMSU main Campus, Barangay Upper Calarian and Malagutay Elementary School  while the 21 heritage trees are located inside the WMSU Campus, City Hall Compound, R.T Lim Boulevard, Plaza Pershing, Vitali Central School Compound, Canelar Elementary School, Upper Calarian and Sinubong Elementary School.

Since City Ordinance No. 341 otherwise known as the Century and Heritage Tree Ordinance came into law on December 2008, Mayor Lobregat had been leading the preservation campaign in declaring trees as Century Trees and Heritage Trees.

According to the said ordinance, “Century Trees” are those that have lived for more than 100 years while “Heritage Trees” are those which may not have reached 100 years “but are considered ecologically, historically or culturally valuable or belonging to a rare species or are adjacent or near a water source, spring or well and whose cutting or destruction will disrupt or destroy the water source.”

These trees will be tagged with metal plates with inscriptions about its common name, scientific, name, date of registry and the declaration of the City Government signed by the mayor. — Vic Larato