Bongbong Marcos celebrates birthday by planting trees: Safeguard Earth for next generations
MANILA, Philippines — President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. chose to celebrate his 65th birthday by kickstarting a nationwide simultaneous tree planting event in San Mateo, Rizal, to stress the need to take care of the environment for the sake of future generations.
During his speech at the Simultaneous Bamboo and Tree Planting Kick-Off Ceremony at the landfill in San Mateo’s Barangay Pintong Bocaue on Tuesday, Marcos said that environmental issues may be the world’s biggest concern today — which is why he and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Ma. Antonia Yulo-Loyzaga chose to have this event on his birthday.
“Nag-uusap po kami ng ating butihing Secretary ng DENR, at napag-usapan namin, sabi niya ‘kailangan gagawa ka kasi very environmentally concerned ka.’ ‘Ika niya, ‘gagawa tayo, gumawa naman tayo ng isang event na para ay maipaalala natin sa ating mga kababayan na napaka-importante na lagi nating inaalagaan ang ating kalikasan,’” Marcos said.
(The DENR Secretary and I were talking, and she told me we have to do something since you are very environmentally concerned. She said we would do an event where we can remind Filipinos that constantly taking good care of the environment is very important.)
“Kaya naman ay pinili namin, sabi ko siguro ang pinaka-maganda ay para ‘yong kaarawan ko maging mas makabuluhan, at talagang may dahilan na tayo ay mag-celebrate, ay sabi ko gawa tayo ng greening, tree planting at ‘yan naman talaga ang pinaka-importanteng issue, hindi lamang sa Pilipinas kung hindi sa buong mundo ngayon,” he added.
(That’s why we chose this event. I said that it would be best to celebrate my birthday in a more meaningful manner, and for us to really have a reason to celebrate, I suggested that we do greening and tree planting projects which are really the most important issue not only in the Philippines but across the world.)
Marcos also said that he made it clear in his first State of the Nation Address that environmental preservation and sustainability would be a key focus of his administration, in an effort to make the country safe for the younger generations and to push for food self-sufficiency.
“Itong ating ginagawa ngayong araw na ito ay isa sa mga hakbang na maaari nating gawin upang tulungan at patibayin ang ating kalikasan, alagaan ang ating kalikasan para ay tayo naman ay meron tayong imamana sa mga anak natin, sa mga susunod sa atin na Pilipino,” he explained.
(What we are doing today is a step that we can actually do to help and strengthen our natural resources, to take care of our environment so that our children and the next generation of Filipinos would inherit something good.)
“We have to do this as a concrete step that we take so that nature is cared for because it desperately needs that care and it desperately needs that attention. As such, I gladly welcome each of you as we kickstart this simple yet impactful undertaking, a nationwide simultaneous tree planting activity,” he added.
According to Marcos, the simultaneous planting of bamboo trees is still a part of the DENR’s ambitious national greening program, which has already achieved the goal of having two million hectares of land reforested from 2011 to 2021.
For 2022, the Chief Executive said DENR plans to add 46,265 hectares of reforested land, and 11,631 hectares in 2023 — an effort which he said would also generate jobs and livelihood opportunities for Filipinos.
“Indeed, this initiative will contribute to the DENR’s national greening program, the country’s most ambitious reforestation program yet, with the goal of reducing poverty, ensuring food security, environmental stability, conserving biodiversity, and mitigating climate change — and adapting to climate change, more than two million hectares of reforestation sites were established from 2011 to 2021,” he said.
“More than the economic benefit of this activity, we are essentially and primarily investing in ensuring that our planet remains a safe space — nevermind for us, but we are only custodians of this earth — but more so that we can say to the children, the Filipinos that follow us, that we have taken good care of that which they will inherit,” he added.
Climate change has been a big issue for the Philippines, especially as it is deemed to feel its effects more than other countries through stronger typhoons, more intense drought seasons, and the fast degradation of biodiversity.
According to the Global Climate Risk Index 2020, the Philippines ranks second in terms of the countries vulnerable to climate change — despite its carbon footprint or contribution to carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide emissions being one of the smallest in the world.
This has led several officials and advocacy groups — including Marcos himself — to sound the alarm on climate change, highlighting the need to act immediately to mitigate the risks brought by the phenomenon.