ZAMBOANGA CITY (MindaNews/25 June) – Mayor Celso Lobregat issued Tuesday an executive order declaring 13 trees as “Century Trees” and seven as “Heritage Trees” in line with the celebration of Arbor Day and as mandated under Ordinance No. 341.
Six of the 13 raintrees or acacia trees (Samanea saman) declared as “Century Trees” are located in Barangay Zone IV and seven in Barangay Pasonanca. The oldest of the 13 is 145 years old.
Four of the seven Heritage Trees are located in Barangay Pasonanca, two in Boalan and one in Sta. Catalina.
The declaration Tuesday brings to 118 the total number of trees — 67 Century and 51 Heritage–declared by the city government as “ecologically, historically and culturally valuable trees” since the program started in 2009.
Lobregat said the declaration is aimed at generating “participatory and active consciousness among the residents to take care, preserve and maintain the trees in their natural state as well as the preservation of other life forms that live within or dependent on said trees for their survival.”
All declared century-old and heritage trees are strapped with a metal plate with information on the name of the tree — scientific and local, date of declaration, approximate age, registry number and location based on Ordinance No. 341.
Ordinance No. 341 states that Century Trees are those that have lived for more than 100 or a century while Heritage Trees may not have reached 100 years but are considered ecologically, historically or culturally valuable. Heritage Trees may belong to rare species, are adjacent or near water source, spring or well and whose cutting or destruction will disrupt or destroy the water source and can be effective symbols of taking care of the environment.
A special technical committee chaired by the Office of the City Environment and Natural Resources (OCENR) spearheads the identification, evaluation of the trees and recommends what are to be declared Century or Heritage trees based on their ecological, historical and cultural values.
The OCENR is mandated by Ordinance No. 341 to make the necessary and appropriate measures through the use of modern science and technology and to undertake the maintenance and preservation of all declared trees in coordination with the concerned barangays where the trees are located.
Lobregat who will end his third term by June 30 and will return to Congress as Representative of the 1st district, also spearheaded Tuesday a commemorative program and tree planting activity at the Mayor Cesar Climaco Freedom Park in Mount Abong-Abong, Barangay Pasonanca, marking the celebration of Arbor Day. (MindaNews)