ANGELES CITY – City Mayor Edgardo Pamintuan’s initiative, the Task Force One Million Trees (TF-1MT), celebrated the annual Arbor Day last Saturday, June 23, by culminating its tree-planting activities with 5,000 saplings planted at Sitio Somel and Sitio Papatak in Barangay Sapangbato.
About 400 multi-sectoral participants joined the activity themed “5K: Kilos sa Klima at Kalamidad tungo sa Kaligtasan at Kaunlaran.”
“We are not against development, but we are simply tasked to balance and take care of the environment,” said TF-1MT Officer-in-Charge Ederlinda Valencia.
The Local Government through the TF-1MT and the City Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) have been implementing programs in order to mitigate probable water crisis whilst taking care of the ecosystem.
Changes to the landscape, like deforestation, may affect the quality and volume of water that goes to the stream, which may lead to flooding, stream erosion, and pollution.
“This activity is intended to protect mountainous portions of the city that pass in river channels, which we call watershed areas. So we plant trees that aid in absorbing water,” Valencia added.
Since the start of this year’s planting season on May, more than 18,000 seedlings have already been planted on different target locations.
To date, an approximately 600,000 seedlings have been planted since commencement of the million trees project in 2010. Fruit-bearing seedlings were also added with Bamboo and forest-trees, in order to benefit the farmer occupants in the vicinity who in turn take care of the growth of the seedlings.
“We do not just plant trees. We also help provide the farmers with seedlings that they will harvest from, in turn we challenge them and check their progress after a month,” said Valencia.
Joining the city in the tree-planting initiative are Angeles City Water District, Balibago Water District, Department of Education – Angeles City, Tacondo Elementary School, Sapangbato Elementary School, Sto. Rosario Elementary School, Sapangbato Sangguniang Kabataan, City College of Angeles, Angeles City Kuliat Jaycees (JCI),UP SIGMA KAPPA PI FRAT, Angeles City Employees Multi-Purpose Cooperative (ACEMPC), Philippine Army Reservists, Jollibee Managers Balibago & Angeles Group, PARRDS, Calfurn Manufacturing Philippines, Angeles City Youth and Development Office, SMK Philippines, Sibul ning Aeta Foundation.
Meanwhile, private companies and organization stakeholders like the Standard Insurance, Yokohama Tire Philippines Inc., US Veterans Federation, Boy Scouts of the Philippines, and Sapangbato Farmers initiated pre-Arbor Day activities in coordination with the TF-1MT.
According to the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), Arbor Day in the Philippines has been institutionalized to be observed every June 25 throughout the nation.
By planting trees among other relevant activities, the Arbor Day aims to promote a healthier ecosystem for the people through the rehabilitation and re-greening of the environment in enjoined participation of all government agencies, including government- owned and controlled corporations, private sector, schools, civil society groups and the citizenry in tree planting activity.
Mayor Pamintuan created the TF-1MT in 2010 in the call to the preservation and development of the city’s landscape as well as its water environment, like the Sapangbato watershed.