BAGUIO CITY – The City Council approved on first reading a proposed ordinance mandating each family in the city to plant and nurture a family tree in their barangays or in any available space that may be identified by the City Environment and Parks Management Office (CEPMO) or the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
The ordinance authored by Councilor Betty Lourdes F. Tabanda states among the objectives of the proposed measure is to raise the awareness of family members on the importance of planting, caring and nurturing a tree as an effort to save the environment; leave a legacy to the next generation; provide an opportunity for family members to bond and do a meaningful activity together; encourage the young to participate in the environment programs of the barangay and the city and support the tree planting initiatives of the city government.
The ordinance outlines the guidelines in the implementation of the city’s family tree program wherein the tree planting may be done in the grounds of the family home or in any place designated by the barangay; should there be no place for planting within the barangay, the barangay may coordinate with the CEPMO or the DENR for other sites within the city; the tree planting activity may be done simultaneously by families per purok or per cluster at a schedule to be set by the barangay; families who may opt to plant at their own date and time must first coordinate with the barangay for supervision; there should be at least 3 members of the family who will participate in the said activity; upon planting, the barangay will inspect and will place a tag, indicating the name of the family who planted it and the date of planting; the barangay will inspect the tree seedlings planted annually to monitor its growth; the tree seedlings may be sourced by the barangay in coordination with CEPMO or DENR and the barangay shall keep a record of the names of the family members who participated in the said activity.
The ordinance stipulates, to encourage greater participation, the family which participated in the program shall be given priority in the barangay programs and benefits and that participation in the program shall be a requirement for the issuance of a barangay clearance.
The ordinance tasks the CEPMO and the Office of the City Mayor to formulate the guidelines for the implementation of the pertinent provisions of the proposed legislative measure.
The ordinance adds ‘we live in an ecosystem where all living organisms, such as plants, animals and the human beings constantly co-exist and interact with each other and the environment, thus, each affects its other’s survival.’
The ordinance underscores that the role of the tree in the city’s environment is considered to be very crucial considering that it breathes in carbon dioxide and releases oxygen, the gas that sustains life, however, human activities and natural causes make the trees disappear rapidly, thus, they are taking a great toll on the survival of the people living in the different communities.
The ordinance notes that the tree planting program is one of the effective and efficient approaches of the national and local governments which elicits greater participation from the public and private sectors, including the local government units, thus, being able to empower more people to actively join in regreening efforts will definitely help in overall efforts to preserved and protect the current state of the city’s environment which is the source of its natural air conditioning that attracts visitors to make Baguio their preferred destination when going for a vacation. By Dexter A. See