Aquino speaks against ‘cycle of environmental degradation’
President Benigno Aquino III on Wednesday lauded government efforts on reforestation and forest management to combat climate change and its vicious cycle.
“Habang nakakalbo ang kagubatan, nababawasan din ang mga punong nag-aabsorb ng carbon monoxide at carbon dioxide. Tumataas lalo ang antas ng polusyon; lumalala nga ang sitwasyon ng climate change, na siya namang nagpapalakas at nagpapadalas sa mga bagyong tumatama sa atin. Siklo ito ng pagkasira ng kalikasan,” Aquino said during the 2015 Community-Based Forest Management National Greening Program (CBFM-NGP) Congress at the World Trade Center.
(As deforestation happens, trees that absorb carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide dwindle. The percentage of pollution heightens more; the situation of climate change worsens, which strenghtens and the reason for the frequency of the typhoons that batter us. This is a cycle of enviromental degradation.)
The President said his recent visit to areas affected by Typhoon “Lando” reminded him of the importance of planting trees, which is the main principle of the government’s NGP.
He pointed out that the Philippines is regularly hit by 20 or so storms per year, which cause landslides and floodings.
“Sa tulong nga po ng mga puno, naiiwasan ang matinding pinsala,” he said, explaining that trees not only absorb rainwater but also prevent erosion.
(With the help of trees, extreme devastation is avoided.)
The President said the reality of climate change hits small and remote communities first.
Through the CBFM-NGP, he said the government aims to engage communities in reducing the country’s carbon footprint and protecting forests from slash and burn farming or “kaingin,” which is harmful to the environment.
He said that although it was difficult to combat illegal logging and other harmful acts, dialogue became the key to the program’s success.
“Ngayon nga po, ang dating umaasa lang sa kaingin, tagasugpo na nito. Sila na mismo ang kumikilos para matigil ang ilegal na pagtotroso. Sila na rin ang kusang nakikiambag para lalong yumabong ang ating mga kagubatan para sa ating kinabukasan,” he said.
(Now, those who depend on kaingin are the opponents of it. They are the ones who act to stop the illegal logging. They also voluntarily contribute so that our forests will nature for our future.)
He said the program has resulted in 766 million seedlings being planted in 1.2-million hectares of land, more than the 1.19 million hectares of land covered by all four previous administrations.
It is estimated that a million hectare of land planted with trees can absorb up to 30 million tons of carbon each year.
“Ang dating forest cover naman na 6.8-million hectares bago mag-umpisa ang programa, lumawak na sa 8 milyong ektarya,” the President said.
(The previous forest cover of 6.8-million hectares before the program started has expanded to 8-million hectares.)
Other programs enumerated by Aquino were the planting of mangroves to reduce the effect of storm surge, the planting of coffee and cacao plants, and the Forestland Boundary Delineation, which identifies areas that may be used for agriculture.
Aquino said the government has also been making progress in curbing illegal logging, with illegal logging hotspots numbered at 23 by October, from 197 in 2011.
“Ang nakumpiska naman pong 30.71-million board-feet ng ilegal na troso at forest products, nagamit natin para maipaayos ang 388 na school buildings, at magpagawa ang mahigit 146,470 na mga upuan at kagamitan sa atin pong mga pampublikong paaralan,” he said.
(The confiscated 30.71-million board-feet of illegal logs and forest products were used to repair 388 school buildings and to build more than 146,470 chairs and things in our public schools.)
Aquino also mentioned the Climate Change Commission’s filing of the country’s climate commitments in accordance to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. The Philippine Intended Nationally Determined Contribution aims to reduce the country’s greenhouse gas emissions by 70 percent in 2030. RAM
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