Koronadal to plant .5M trees in 2,000 has

KORONADAL CITY (MindaNews/08 June) — The city government here is targeting to plant around 500,000 trees for the city’s third tree-growing festival slated on June 29 along two critical mountain ranges in the area.

Cyrus Urbano, Koronadal City administrator, said Friday the local government has identified around 2,000 hectares of land along the Roxas and Quezon mountain ranges as sites for the upcoming festivity, which is considered the biggest tree planting activity in Region 12.

He said the planting sites are situated in 11 of the city’s 27 barangays that are straddled by the two mountain ranges.

“The preparations for the 500,000 seedlings are ongoing and we’ve also started a city-wide campaign for the enlistment of around 30,000 volunteers for the activity,” Urbano said.

The official said Mayor Peter Miguel earlier created several working committees to spearhead the preparatory activities for the tree-growing festival, which has a budget of around P4 million.

He said the initial preparatory activities include the enlistment of volunteers, information and education of local stakeholders, site and seedling preparation.

Urbano said the local government has signed up a number of local schools, shopping malls, companies, neighboring local government units as well as some private and government agencies as principal partners for the activity.

He said these partners committed to help provide the needed volunteer-planters, water and food supplies and transportation services.

As part of its preparations, he said the city government established last February a seedling nursery in a vacant lot at the back of the city hall building.

Urbano said the local government, through the city environment and natural resources office (Cenro), is presently preparing around 300,000 tree seedlings at the nursery.

He said they are also negotiating for an augmentation of around 200,000 more seedlings from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Department of Agriculture and other concerned government agencies, private firms and organizations.

Of the 500,000 seedlings that are targeted for planting during the activity, Urbano said 60 percent will be fruit trees and forest trees while 40 percent will be high value crops like coffee, cacao and coconut.

“We earlier purchased 200,000 seed nuts worth P2 million and around 40,000 to 50,000 of these are now ready for planting,” he said.

Augustus Bretana, Cenro chief, said the city government has doubled its targets for this year’s tree-growing festival.

He said last year’s activity covered around 1,000 hectares of planting sites in five barangays along the Quezon mountain range and with around 250,000 tree seedlings planted.

Most of the planting sites were within titled private-owned lands as well as areas that were covered by the government’s Integrated Social Forestry program, he said.

During its launching two years ago, around 25,000 local volunteers planted a total of 131,028 tree seedlings in 522.78 hectares of idle lands along the Roxas Mountain Range, which covers six barangays.

The city government decided to launch the tree-growing festival last year to highlight the local celebration of the International Environment Month held every June and support for Aquino’s National Greening Program.

It noted that the festivities aimed to promote environmental volunteerism among residents and the rehabilitation of the city’s declining forest reserve. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)