ZAMBOANGA CITY (MindaNews/26 June) – Mayor Celso Lobregat on Saturday declared 24 acacia trees as century and heritage trees to generate consciousness and participation among residents to preserve and protect trees.
Lobregat issued Executive Order No. CL 406-2011 highlighting the observance of “Arbor Day na Ciudad de Zamboanga” and the declaration’s basis is City Ordinance No. 341 otherwise known as the Century and Heritage Tree Ordinance of 2008.
Of the 24 trees, three were declared as century trees and the other 21 were declared as heritage trees.
The century trees include two narra and an acacia located in the campus of the Western Mindanao State University (WMSU) in Barangay Upper Calarian and in Malagutay Elementary School, respectively.
The 21 heritage trees are located inside the WMSU Campus, City Hall Compound, R.T Lim Boulevard, Plaza Pershing, Barangay Upper Calarian and at the campuses of Vitali Central School, Canelar Elementary School, and Sinubong Elementary School.
Lobregat spearheaded the identification of the trees by strapping metal plates that contain its local and scientific names, approximate age, location, tree registry number and declaration date.
City Ordinance No. 341 classified century trees as those that have lived for more than 100 years.
Heritage tress are those which may not have reached 100 years “but are considered ecologically, historically or culturally valuable or belonging to a rare species or are adjacent or near a water source, spring or well and whose cutting or destruction will disrupt or destroy the water source.”
Lobregat appealed to all residents to help preserve, protect and maintain the trees.
Based on City Ordinance No. 341, trees declared as century or heritage trees shall “not be subjected to any cutting or any form or destruction, except for medical, public emergency, public safety and botanical reasons and shall be preserved and maintained in its natural state.”
The prohibition also applies to all plants and animals living within or are dependent on the said trees for their survival.
The tagging of the trees followed the massive tree planting activities at the Cesar C. Climaco Freedom Park in Abong-abong Barangay Pasonanca, which was attended by over 8,000 students, participants from government and non-government agencies, the academe, the barangay sector, the police and military and all other groups.
The observance of “Arbor Day na Ciudad de Zamboanga” every June 25 is by virtue of City Ordinance No. 281 calling for active public participation in tree planting and other activities.
The activity is the localized version of the Philippine Arbor Day, also observed June 25, to encourage every Zamboangueño to instill the culture of planting trees and caring for the environment.
A total of 9,750 tree seedlings and propagules were planted on Arbor Day here.
At least 3,750 tree seedlings were planted at the the 1.5-hectare forestland in Mount Abong-Abong and another 1,000 tree seedlings at the half-hectare watershed area in Barangay Manicahan.
Of the 5,000 propagules, 3,000 were planted at the mangrove of Barangay Victoria covering 1.2 hectares and 2,000 in the mangrove of Barangay Mampang covering 1.5 hectares. (MindaNews)