As poll campaign intensifies, DENR strengthens drive to save trees
COTABATO CITY — As candidates for local and national elections intensified their campaign in wooing the electorate, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources in the Soccsksargen region (Region 12) also stepped up its campaign to save trees.
“We have also stepped up our drive to save our trees as the election campaign enters the home-stretch,” acting DENR Sec. Jim O. Sampulna said in a statement Saturday.
He reiterated his call for all candidates and their supporters “to engage in an environmentally friendly campaign.”
On the first day of DENR-12’s Oplan Baklas, a total of 7,229 various campaign materials nailed, tacked, and displayed on trees have been removed by DENR personnel.
DENR-12 Director Felix S. Alicer said the region-wide removal of campaign posters and paraphernalia nailed on trees commenced Friday and will continue daily in the provinces of North Cotabato, South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, SArangani and the cities of Kidapawan, Tacurong, Koronadal and Gen. Santos.
“This was in close coordination with our partners, the Commission on Elections (Comelec), local government units, police and the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) and Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB),” Alicer said.
Sampulna said the nationwide campaign will continue until all the trees are free from destruction due to electoral activities.
Sampulna said he was sad the dismantled poll campaign materials were made of non-biodegradable tarpaulin, plywood, and cloth and plastic streamers.
Quoting reports from provincial DENR offices, Alicer said 717 illegal posters were removed from trees in North Cotabato, 256 in Sarangani Province, 193 in Sultan Kudarat, and 6,063 in South Cotabato.
Before the simultaneous “Oplan Baklas,” the provincial and Community ENR Offices of DENR-12 have already conducted their operations in their respective areas of responsibility.
“There are designated common poster areas for the candidates, and the trees are not one of those. We have to spare the trees from these election materials since these trees provide various environmental benefits to us,” he said.
Under Republic Act 3571, cutting, destroying, or injuring planted or growing trees, flowering plants, shrubs, or plants of scenic value along public roads, in plazas, parks, school premises, or on any other public pleasure grounds is prohibited.
Also on Friday, April 22, more than 4,000 tree seedlings were planted across the Soccksargen Region during a simultaneous tree-growing activity organized by the DENR-12 in celebration of the Earth Day 2022.
Director Alicer said that the planet earth is facing a lot of threats like climate change and various environmental destructions, and one way to combat these is to plant more trees.
“We can all be part of the solution in addressing these threats and issues. We need to put an end to environmentally harmful activities and start joining the government programs in saving our only home, the planet earth,” he said.
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