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List of Bataan flora another legacy left by Co

10:04 PM February 18, 2012

CLARK FREEPORT—Botanist Leonard Co documented the flora of the Bataan National Park a year before he was killed in Leyte, and local environmentalists have reproduced the catalogue for students to encourage them to help regreen the park.

Co’s eight-page catalogue lists 160 plant species, Felicito Payumo, chair of the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA), said here on Friday.

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A native of Bataan, Payumo led reforestation efforts on the 23,668-hectare park that straddles the foothills of Dinalupihan, Hermosa, Orani, Samal, Abucay, Bagac and Morong towns and Balanga City. The park’s center, Mount Natib, is the watershed of those towns, he said.

To familiarize the students with the flora of the park, Payumo said high school and college students have been invited to a Mar. 31-Apr. 1 event on Mt. Natib where they will hunt for the plant species. Participants who document the most species will be declared winners.

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The event ends at the Bataan Technology Park in Morong, which is part of the Bases Group of Companies owned by the

BCDA.

“They might even find new other flora in the process,” he said.

Two members of the Aeta village of Kanawan in Morong will join the event. An Aeta, surnamed Salonga, helped Co during the documentation.

On his first death anniversary in November last year, Co’s friends and classmates at the University of the Philippines relaunched a new edition of his directory of indigenous herbs and medicinal plants.

The book, “Common Medicinal Plants of the Cordillera Region,” lists 120 indigenous Cordillera plants and provides recipes for their use as medicinal remedies.

Co was working on a biodiversity project by the Energy Development Corp. in Leyte when he and two companions were shot dead allegedly during a communist rebel clash with government soldiers.

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The military said Co was caught in a crossfire. His family and friends believed soldiers fired on Co and his companions, mistaking them to be New People’s Army rebels. Tonette Orejas, Inquirer Central Luzon

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TAGS: Botany, Leonard Co, Plants, science
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