BAGUIO CITY – Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan ordered the concerned city government offices and prospective volunteers to help in the city’s intensified efforts to reforest its watersheds to ensure the sustainability of water sources for the increasing population.
The local chief executive said the local government will be using the bulk of the 500,000 assorted tree seedlings to be given by SM City Baguio management to increase the forest cover of the boundary of the city-owned 139-hectare property at Sto. Tomas school area barangay, particularly with its boundary with Tuba, Benguet, and the Busol watershed, particularly with its boundary with La Trinidad, to improve the state of the city’s watersheds in the coming years.
Based on data obtained from the environment department, only 20 percent of the city’s over 5,000 hectares land area remain to be forested and that the pace of deforestation is rapidly increasing compared to the pace of reforestation.
“We also welcome the efforts of concerned residents and groups to plant Arabica coffee seeding in various portions of our watersheds because it will be helpful in improving the forest cover of our existing sources of water. We want to continue improving the greenery of our forests so that there will be increased water holding capacity of our reservations,” Domogan stressed.
Aside from providing the local government with the tree seedlings for planting in the watersheds as its compensatory requirement for the 82 trees it cut at Luneta Hill, SM City Baguio will be hiring experts who will take care of the trees that will be planted for a 3-year period to guarantee that the planted trees will grow and serve their purpose.
Domogan claimed volunteer individuals and groups are welcome to actively participate in the numerous tree planting activities that will be scheduled during the rainy season to make sure that the seedlings to be planted will survive and contribute to efforts to preserve and protect the environment.
He urged barangay officials to also help in convincing their constituents to plant trees in available spaces within their properties to increase the presence of trees around the city and contribute to increasing carbon sequestration to help reduce the pollutants in the city’s air.
According to him, increasing the forest cover within the boundaries of the city and its neighboring towns in Benguet will definitely contribute in providing the needed buffer zones that will help deter forest fires during the dry season that will compromise the growth of newly planted trees, thus, the need for communities near the boundaries of the watersheds to be vigilant in monitoring possible sources of forest fires.
He said individuals and groups participating in tree planting activities must not only plant the tree seedlings in the identified areas but also help in monitoring the growth of the planted trees to make sure that their efforts will not be in vain and a waste of time, effort, and resources.
By Dexter A. See