MANILA, Philippines – Environment Secretary Ramon Paje on Saturday lauded a project of the Department of Education to plant at least five native tree species on school campuses, saying it will boost the government’s urban greening program.
In a statement, Paje said the tree-planting initiative would not only strengthen efforts to inculcate environmental awareness among the youth, but would also teach them the importance of preserving native trees.
“The project will boost the propagation of native trees, especially those which are slowly disappearing, and which Filipinos use for food, medicine and other uses,” Paje said.
“More importantly, the project will educate millions of students and other Filipinos on the richness of our biodiversity as a natural heritage, and they do not need to go to the mountains to see these trees,” he added.
Education Secretary Armin Luistro instructed all teachers and students in 763 public schools in Metro Manila to take part in the National Greening Program of the Aquino administration by growing trees endemic to the Philippines.
There are about 3,600 species of trees found in the country, the most famous of which is narra, touted as the national tree. Its wood is said to be one of the toughest in the world.
Other Philippine native trees are guijo, kamagong, red and white lauan, tindalo, yakal, and molave.
Paje said the DepEd project would complement the urban greening component of the government’s National Greening Program.
Established in February 2011 under Executive Order No. 26, the National Greening Program seeks to plant some 1.5 billion trees covering about 1.5 million hectares by 2016.
So far, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources has planted 142.6 million seedlings spread out over 232,000 hectares of land nationwide. The program also generated more than 364,000 jobs, the department said.