Jim Sampulna, executive director of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Region 12, said he has submitted a proposal to the Land Transportation Office (LTO) in the region to require vehicle owners to first plant at least 10 trees each as a precondition for the approval of new applications and renewals of vehicle registration.
He said they are planning to forge a memorandum of agreement with the LTO to facilitate the implementation of the proposed requirement.
Sampulna said he initially discussed the proposal on Tuesday with LTO Region 12 chief Sheik Samaon Mustapha, who reportedly agreed on its principle.
He said Mustapha promised to immediately endorse the proposal to their central office and request the legal department to study the possibility of coming up with a policy regarding the matter.
According to a report from the National Statistical Coordination Board, some 206,091 motor vehicles registered with the LTO Region 12 from July 2006 to June this year.
Region 12 covers the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, Cotabato and the cities of General Santos, Cotabato, Koronadal, Kidapawan and Tacurong.
Sampulna said they are planning to integrate the tree planting requirement with the DENR’s Green Philippines Project, a tree-planting program that targets the planting of at least 20 million trees in various parts of the country.
“This will anchor our plan to plant at least two million trees in the region as part of the Green Philippines Project,” he said.
Under his proposal, Sampulna said owners of trucks, cars, motorcycles and other types of motor vehicles will be required to submit certifications or any proof to the LTO that they have planted at least 10 trees before their applications for vehicle registration will be processed.
He said they proposed each vehicle owner to plant 10 trees since studies reportedly showed that at least 10 trees are needed to absorb the average amount of carbon emitted by a single motor vehicle each year.
The tones of carbon emitted by motor vehicles are reportedly among the main factors that trigger the depletion of the earth’s ozone layer and eventually caused global warming, he said.
Sampulna said vehicle owners may comply with the proposed requirement by joining tree-planting activities organized by government and non-government organizations in their areas or by planting trees in their own localities.
He said their office will authorize the concerned government and non-government organizations and barangay councils to issue certificates of compliance to the vehicle owners.
Sampulna said the DENR will be providing planting materials to government agencies, local firms, non-government groups and barangay councils to facilitate the program.
Earlier this year, DENR Region 12 launched a massive seedling production program as part of the implementation of the Green Philippines Project.
The seedling production program, which initially targeted the production of at least one million seedlings, mainly utilized various hard wood and fruit trees species that are endemic in the region’s four provinces and five cities.
The region topped last year’s launching of the Green Philippines Highways project for “greening” at least 550.6 kilometers of the region’s national highways.(Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)