Latest Stories
Inquirer Mindanao

After ‘Pablo,’ massive tree planting


GODOFREDO Singson and his children weed out their backyard agro-forestry project in Mt. Magdiwata in San Francisco, Agusan del Sur. CHRIS V. PANGANIBAN

With forest denudation identified as among the reasons for the devastation wrought by Typhoon “Pablo” in Mindanao, cooperatives on the island embarked on a massive tree-planting campaign last week.

On Dec. 10, at least 6,000 tree seedlings were planted in various areas by members of cooperatives hoping to prevent future flash floods and landslides and to raise awareness on the Mindanao Nurturing Our Waters (MindaNOW) program of the Mindanao Development Authority (Minda).

Minda is a government development agency under the Office of the President. Its MindaNOW project aims to consolidate all efforts for the development and management of Mindanao’s watersheds and river basins.

Greening program

“We thought of tying up with Minda under its MindaNOW program to align our efforts with the national government’s thrust on the national greening program,” said Bernadette Toledo, chief executive officer of Mindanao Alliance of Self-help Societies-Southern Philippines Educational Cooperative Center (Mass-Specc).

The cooperatives have been planting trees in the past years, but not as massive as last week’s activities, Toledo said in a statement. Mass-Specc is composed of 300 primary cooperatives all over Mindanao, with combined assets worth at least P11 billion and gross membership of more than 1.5 million.

Among the areas where the tree-planting activities took place were Bayog in Zamboanga del Sur; Cugman in Cagayan de Oro City; Marilog in Davao City; Barangay Pamantingan in Esperanza, Sultan Kudarat province; Nasipit in Agusan del Norte, and the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

While eradicating poverty was one of the primary roles of a cooperative, Toledo said Mass-Specc had launched a program dubbed “Co-ops Love Green Earth,” pointing out that sudden floods and landslides have become serious threats not just to Mindanao’s economy but also to the lives of its people.

Lessons from ‘Sendong’

“We’ve learned our lessons from Tropical Storm ‘Sendong’ to Pablo. We at Mass-Specc see the need for a long-term solution to these problems,” she said.

While the organization hopes to contribute to efforts to help the country achieve its millennium development goals of eradicating extreme poverty and hunger, Toledo said the cooperative principles have also expanded to ensuring environmental sustainability.

Cooperatives are mandated to allot, at most, 10 percent of their net surplus for the  community development fund, which includes allocation for green projects, she said.

“This is where we get our financial resources for the Mindanao-wide tree growing,” Toledo said.


Livelihood goals

To sustain this undertaking, Mass-Specc agreed to provide host communities and partner organizations with livelihood opportunities.

Manny dela Peña, a board member, said the livelihood opportunities were aimed at ensuring that the trees planted would serve their ultimate purpose of preventing flooding in the lowlands.

“In areas where we are going to grow timber trees, Mass-Specc will pay for the honoraria of the caretakers for them not to cut down the trees to make way for kaingin (slash-and-burn farming),” Dela Peña said.

In other areas where fruit-bearing trees were planted, host communities could turn their harvest into cash in three years, he added.

Toledo said Mass-Specc was also willing to extend other forms of assistance—from farm inputs to capability building activities—to ensure that the planted seedlings are nurtured.

Romeo Montenegro, director of Minda’s investment promotions and public affairs, said the agency had also organized river basins and watershed councils all over Mindanao to ensure coordinated ridge-to-reef planning.

“Minda welcomes this partnership with Mass-Specc, and we hope that more organizations, big or small, will join our cause,” he said.

Compostela Valley

In Compostela Valley, Mayor Lorenzo Balbin of New Bataan has denied allegations of illegal logging and mining in the town’s mountainous range, which purportedly worsened Pablo’s impact.

“How can we allow that when we have our watershed, which is our source of drinking water up there?” he asked. Most of the trees found all over town in the aftermath of the typhoon were “uprooted trees and not cut ones,” he added.

“The typhoon uprooted those trees,” he said. “We are already fallen and we felt like being kicked again by these charges [of hosting illegal mining and logging].”

A longtime resident of Barangay Andap, the hardest-hit area of New Bataan, said logging operations were indeed prevalent in the town but these happened years ago.

Compostela Valley Gov. Arturo Uy also said no mining activity had taken place in Andap in recent years. “How can mining be allowed there when it’s a tourist area?” he asked.

Uy said it was also unfair to blame mining as a worsening factor because even in known mining areas such as in Maragusan and in Mt. Diwalwal in Monkayo, only a few people had died. With reports from Dennis Jay Santos and Frinston Lim

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Flash Floods , forest denudation , landslides , MINDA , Mindanao Development Authority , Mindanao Nurturing Our Waters , MindaNOW program , Pablo , Tree-planting campaign , Typhoon Pablo

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
  1. Fr. Suarez says last Mass on Easter before returning donated land to San Miguel
  2. Chinese lawyers say they were tortured by police
  3. Hair salon’s Kim Jong Un poster riles embassy
  4. Siquijor ‘healer’: For every cure, there’s a plant
  5. State seeks guilty verdict for Abalos
  6. Why college grads end up in the PNP
  7. Estrada: I will pray for my detractors
  8. Miraculous image makes Gapan City top site for pilgrimage in Central Luzon
  9. I’ll follow my conscience on Estrada, says JV Ejercito
  10. Five men from Cavite found dead in jeep in Batangas
  1. Suspect in Vhong Navarro mauling tries to leave PH
  2. Massage attendant arrested on rape complaint filed by Japanese tourist
  3. ‘Tell no one’ Makati bettor won P250M lotto
  4. MH370 co-pilot made mid-flight phone call – report
  5. Netizens cry: 6/55 Lotto was rigged
  6. ‘Wife of Jesus’ theory papyrus not fake – Harvard study
  7. North Korea uses flamethrower to execute official
  8. ‘King’ Yabut and I: Driver bares Makati dad ‘abuses’
  9. Gay college instructor arrested for oral sex with student
  10. It was difficult having Japanese blood
  1. KL confirms Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 ended in Indian Ocean
  2. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  3. Pork payoffs to newscasters Erwin Tulfo, Del Prado, others bared
  4. UP back on top as ‘average’ student aces bar
  5. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  6. Model Helena Belmonte wished ‘to slash her wrist and hope to die’
  7. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  8. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  9. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  10. Police rule out foul play in Helena Belmonte’s death as boyfriend is ‘traumatized’


  • How other faiths observe Holy Week
  • No noise, partying in Boracay on Good Friday
  • More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  • NATO ups military presence amid Russian threat
  • DOH issues official statement on confirmed case of MERS-CoV
  • Sports

  • Tenacious Iran frustrates Qatar to retain Asian Club volleyball crown
  • Floyd Mayweather is ESPN’s top-paid athlete
  • Pistorius trial: Judge sets 2-week adjournment
  • China, Taiwan rout foes for 3rd, 5th places in Asian Club volleyball
  • Ginebra’s new import Freeman arrives, makes PBA return vs ROS
  • Lifestyle

  • Are your favorite malls open this Holy Week break?
  • Celebrate Easter Sunday at Buddha-Bar Manila
  • Moriones feast: A slow, steady transformation
  • Weaving ‘palaspas’ a tradition kept alive in Tayabas City
  • Finalists announced for best translated books
  • Entertainment

  • Filipino rock icons to hold silent concert
  • Mommy Dionisia Pacquiao’s greatest hits
  • Deniece Cornejo posts bail—report
  • Miley Cyrus hospitalized, cancels US concert
  • Otaku Summer Jam 2014: Summer’s hottest J-rock/Cosplay event
  • Business

  • Russian economy hit by Ukraine turmoil
  • PSEi firms up ahead of Lenten break
  • I-Remit teams up with Lakhoo for remittances from Oman
  • Megawide nets P1.4 B in 2013
  • Longer TRO sought on rate hike
  • Technology

  • Smart phone apps and sites perfect for the Holy Week
  • Tech company: Change passwords or suffer ‘Heartbleed’
  • Filling the digital talent gap
  • SSS to shut down website for Holy Week
  • Another reason to quit social media this Holy Week: your safety
  • Opinion

  • We may never know
  • Couple of things
  • Mommy D’s magic
  • Stop bizarre and bloody Good Friday rituals
  • Holy Week taboos
  • Global Nation

  • Netizens welcome Japan’s visa-free travel plan
  • Visa-free travel by Filipinos to Japan still a proposal
  • Visa-free travel to Japan could boost tourism
  • 2 PCG men ordered arrested over Balintang Channel shooting
  • US Embassy closed on Holy Thursday, Good Friday
  • Marketplace