Mindanao ‘breaks’ Guinness record on tree planting

KORONADAL CITY (MindaNews/27 September)—Mindanao has unofficially broken a Guinness World Record for most trees planted simultaneously in multiple locations on Friday, but some participants ranted against the organizers for the unannounced grueling trek in the mountains that had some of them fainting due to fatigue.

As of 5 p.m. Friday, thousands of Mindanawons have planted 3,058,625 trees of various species in the six regions of the island, according to the partial and unofficial results for the “TreeVolution: Greening MindaNOW.”

The current world record for the most number of trees planted simultaneously at multiple locations was achieved in India on August 15, 2011.The world record of 1,945,535 trees planted was carried out by 340,200 participants across 408 locations.

Guinness will still have to validate Mindanao’s tree planting feat.

TreeVolution organizers earlier targeted to mobilize 185,440 people who will plant 4,636,000 trees covering 9,200 hectares across Mindanao.

As of posting time on Saturday, the target was still short by 1,577,375 trees as counting was still in progress.

While the Guinness attempt was “obviously successful,” the activity drew flak from several participants, with one of them bluntly calling the organizers “liars.”

In his post at the Facebook wall of the TreeVolution: Greening MindaNOW, Aj Hipolito lambasted the organizers for not being straightforward in telling the participants on the actual location of the planting site.

“We ride for two hours aboard a truck going to the mountain. We thought it’s the actual location already. You did not tell us we still have to walk for two more hours to reach the main site,” he said in Filipino.

“The trek was really difficult. What you did was cruel. Many women fainted because of the punishing walk,” Hipolito added.

He also noted that there were no available bottled waters when they reached the planting site at around 8 a.m.

Hipolito said the bottled waters were distributed two hours later.

The TreeVolution was co-organised by the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA), the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Department of Agriculture and the Department of the Interior and Local Government.

Secretary Luwalhalti Antonino, MinDA chairperson, said the massive tree planting activity was part of the re-greening initiatives for Mindanao.

“While we are aiming to create a new Guinness World Record with Treevolution, what is more critical is for us to reforest Mindanao,” she said on Facebook.

“Let’s bring back what we took away from Mother Nature,” Antonino added.

Those who participated include soldiers, policemen, government employees, the religious and business sectors, students, non-government organizations and even members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

The simultaneous tree planting lasted for an hour–from 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. A pre-registration was required for the participants who must be 17 years old and above.

Under Guinness rules, digging machinery cannot be used during the planting, and actual digging of plots must take place at the time of planting, not prior to the attempt.(MindaNews)