No tree parks, no aid, dev’t funds – Bukidnon governor

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/02 May) – Bukidnon Gov. Alex P. Calingasan announced he will not release development funds and other aid to any barangay, town or city that fails to comply with his re- greening program requirement – tree parks in the communities.

“Pwersahan na ni, (We’re now forcing this one)” he said.

Calingasan cited the policy in his opening remarks during the Bukidnon Watershed and River Basin Forum held last week at the Bukidnon State University.

The governor said he will require the planting and growing of at least 1,000 trees for infrastructure projects like towns halls and health centers and assistance for barangay foundation celebrations.

Calingasan said he has required towns to maintain a tree park for the multi-million aid he releases every year.

He has also required quarry operators to plant and grow trees before their annual permits may be renewed.

Mercy Ibcas, assistant provincial administrator, told MindaNews that even cooperatives and non-government organizations are required to plant trees before their request for funding support may be released.

She added the Capitol will require the recipients to submit a certification from the Bukidnon Environment and Natural Resources.

But she recalled that some of these organizations were able to avail of funds by simply pledging to plant trees.

Calingasan noted Bukidnon’s importance as the source of many river systems in Mindanao and the need to sustain such role by increasing the province’s forest cover.

He said a total of 32,500 seedlings of fruit trees have been planted since the re-greening program started in October 2010.

The governor also vowed to work for the amendment of the Bukidnon Environment Code but did not specify what provisions might be affected. (Walter I. Balane/MindaNews)