Celso spearheads tagging of century, heritage trees PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 26 June 2011 16:05

Mayor Celso Lobregat yesterday declared 24 acacia trees as “century” and “heritage” trees purposely to generate participatory and active consciousness among the residents to preserve and protect trees.

Executive No. CL 406-2011 formalized the declaration of three Century Trees and 21 Heritage Trees highlighting the observance of Arbor Day na Ciudad de Zanboanga. The declaration was by virtue of Ordinance 341 otherwise known as the Century and Heritage Tree Ordinance.

The 100-year old trees composed of two narra and an acacia trees 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.
Mayor Lobregat spearheaded the identification of the trees by strapping metal plates that contain its local and scientific names, approximate age, location, tree registry number and declaration date.  The first stop was at WMSU campus where 6 trees were tagged by the mayor with assistance from WMSU President Dr. Grace Rebollos and her deans, DENR dir. Adorable and City Environment and Natural Resources Officer Engr. Rey Gonzales.

“Century Trees,” according to Ordinance 341, are those that have lived for more than 100 years while “Heritage Tress” are those which may not have reached 100 years “but are considered ecologically, historically or culturally valuable or belonging to a rare specie or are adjacent or near a water source, spring or well and whose cutting or destruction will disrupt or destroy the water source.”
Lobregat appealed to all residents of the city to help preserve and protect the trees and maintain it in its natural state.

Based on the ordinance, trees declared as Century or Heritage Trees shall “not be subjected to any cutting or any form or destruction, except for medical, public emergency, public safety and botanical reasons and shall be preserved and maintained in its natural state.” Such prohibition shall also apply to all plants and animals that live within or are depended on the said trees for their            survival.
The tagging of the trees followed the massive tree planting activities at the Climaco Freedom Park in Abong-abong, which was attended by over 8,000 students, participants from government and non-government agencies, the academe, the barangay sector, the police and military and all other groups.

The observance of Arbor Day na Ciudad de Zamboanga every June 25 is by virtue of Ordinance 281 calling for active public participation in tree planting and other activities.
The Arbor Day na Ciudad de Zamboanga is the localized version of the Philippine Arbor Day, also observed June 25, in order to encourage every Zamboangaueno to instill the culture of planting tees and caring for the environment. The day is also designated as the start of the tree planting season in the city.

Four sites—the  Abong-abong area, Mampang and Victoria mangrove areas and the Manicahan forest area were designated as planting areas.
The local observance is a citywide activity that involved the diverse sectors of the city. All groups were enjoined to participate in the mass tree planting activities in their respective communities, in the coastal or mangrove areas, uplands, watersheds, tree parks, greenbelts and other designated areas for planting. — Sheila Covarrubias