THE City Government of Bacolod and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Negros Island Region (DENR-NIR) Thursday, May 4, launched the Bacolod City Urban Development Greening Program for the planting of one million trees in the city.
The ceremonial tree planting was led by Mayor Evelio Leonardia, Vice Mayor El Cid Familiaran, Councilors Cindy Rojas and Bartolome Orola, along with DENR outgoing Regional Director Al Orolfo and his successor Livino Duran, along with Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office head Edgardo Rostata at the Bacolod Government Center grounds.
Leonardia and Orolfo also signed a memorandum of agreement to formulate the five-year Bacolod City Urban Development Greening Program Plan in support of the National Greening Program.
The mayor said this is one of the most ambitious projects they had ever undertaken because one million trees is something big.
“This is something for a better future in Bacolod. We don’t expect to finish this in a day, but the most important thing is the journey to a million trees begins with the first tree and we had done that,” Leonardia said.
Orolfo said the program is one way for Bacolod to become climate resilient because it is vulnerable to sea level rise, and also to make the city livable.
“Planting and greening is not only about trees, this is also part of our food security because at the same time we are also going to plant fruit bearing trees,” he said.
He added that all over the country, Bacolod City will be the first one who adopted the concept of biodiversity friendly city.
The urban greening program plan aims to achieve five objectives.
First, to establish a Barangay or City Park in all 61 barangays in Bacolod; second, stabilize all riverbanks through planting of different species of bamboo, fruit and forest trees; third, enhance the beauty of the city through planting or growing of ornamental plants and other fruit-bearing trees along the national highway, provincial and barangay roads;
Fourth, intensify public awareness through information and education campaign vis-à-vis the importance of biodiversity conservation, protection and rehabilitation of denuded areas as strategy in addressing climate change; and fifth, enhance and encourage public and private sectors and other stakeholder participation in the conservation, rehabilitation and protection of the environment.
The City of Bacolod, aside from intensifying public awareness, will also conduct the survey, mapping and planning to determine the appropriate and suitable species to be planted on a specific site, undertake plantation establishment, and supervise the implementation of the project, allocate funds for capacity building and other related activities, and submit a monthly progress report to the DENR-NIR, among others.
The DENR will support the city government’s initiatives related to the program implementation, provide technical assistance, conduct capacity building, provide plantable seedlings, and jointly monitor with Bacolod City the progress of the project.
Orolfo said the DENR-NIR has the country’s biggest mechanized forest nursery located at Barangay Banban, Ayungon town in Negros Oriental.
Every week, it can produce 250,000 seedlings, including those of native trees, and fruit bearing trees.
Leonardia tasked Public Employment Services Office head Anthony Ayco to monitor the tree planting.
Ayco said they will assign the youth hired for the Special Program for Employment of Students to plant the seedlings in various barangays this summer.
Councilor Rojas, chairperson of committee on environment, said she will propose an ordinance for the protection of the trees, with penalties for violators and incentives for the compliant barangays.
Published in the SunStar Bacolod newspaper on May 05, 2017.
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