Jim Sampulna, DENR Region 12 director, said their monitoring showed that most of the seedlings planted during the GPH program's launching last Aug. 25 are now growing normally but a significant number have failed to survive due to the lack of proper protection.
"Some were destroyed by farm animals while others just wilted mainly because they were not properly taken cared of," he said.
To solve this problem, Sampulna urged the provinces, municipalities and even barangay governments covered by the program to pass ordinances that would protect the areas planted with the trees from any intrusion, especially by farm animals.
He said the LGUs should also remind local stakeholders to protect and take proper care of the plants.
The region ranked first among the 16 other regions in the country in terms of the distance planted with trees under the GPH program.
Region 12 covers the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Cotabato, Sarangani and the cities of General Santos, Cotabato, Koronadal, Tacurong and Kidapawan.
DENR records show that at least 550.60 kilometers of the sides of the major highways in the region were planted with trees last Aug. 25.
Some 55,061 seedlings and saplings were also planted in the entire region. Such accomplishment is fifth nationwide in the regional category.
DENR Region 12's Forest Management Service reported that among the forest tree species planted in the area were the large-leaf Mahogany (Swietenia macrophylla), Narra (Pterocarpus indicus), the ornamental golden shower tree (Cassia fistula) and Caballero (Caesalpinia pulcherrima).