GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/25 September) — Region 12 stakeholders are targeting to plant a total of 504,500 trees in connection with the country’s bid on Friday to break the Guinness world record for the most number of trees planted in an hour.
Datu Tungko Saikol, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Region 12 director, said Thursday they are targeting to cover around 1,000 hectares in various parts of the region for the massive tree planting activity, which is dubbed “TreeVolution: Greening MindaNOW.”
He said they will mobilize 28,154 planters in 20 planting sites within Region 12’s four provinces and five cities.
The activity is supported by 20 peoples’ organizations (POs) across the region and will involve some 550 validators, he said.
Also known as Soccsksargen, the region comprises the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, North Cotabato and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong, Kidapawan and Cotabato.
“We have completed all necessary preparations and we’re now all set for the activity,” Saikol said.
He said DENR Secretary Ramon Paje will personally observe the tree planting activities in Davao City along with representatives from Guinness World Records.
The official said the agency’s undersecretaries will observe the activities in selected planting sites in the cities of General Santos, Zamboanga, Cagayan de Oro and Butuan.
A report released by DENR-12’s regional public affairs office said the agency has finalized a total of 250 hectares of planting sites each in the provinces of South Cotabato, North Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat and Sarangani.
In South Cotabato and this city, the agency said a total of 125,000 trees will be planted in six planting sites that were all part of its flagship National Greening Program.
Two of the planting sites were situated in the critical Allah Valley Protected Landscape, which covers four municipalities in the province.
It said the activity will involve 6,540 planters coming from various sectors, six POs and 113 validators.
The trees lined up for planting are Mahogany, Nabol, Rubber, Coffee, Cacao, Falcata, Narra, Toog, Sagimsim, Malapapaya, Lauan, Jackfrui, Guyabano, Lamio, Taluto, Lambayau and Bayok.
In North Cotabato, DENR-12 said a total of 6,225 planters have signed up to plant some 129,500 trees in seven planting sites in the area.
The activity, which will mainly involve the planting of various indigenous tree species, will be joined by six POs and 129 validators.
The agency said a total of 125,000 trees will also be planted in three upland planting sites in the municipalities of Esperanza, Columbio and Kalamansig in Sultan Kudarat.
It will involve three POs, 115 validators and 5,750 planters composed of local government workers, students and community volunteers.
In Sarangani, around 125,000 will be planted by some 9,639 planters who have signed up for the activity as of Wednesday.
It will involve three POs and 193 validators, and will cover four planting sites in the municipalities of Alabel, Malungon and Kiamba.
Roger Acosta, program manager of the Allah Valley Landscape Development Alliance, said volunteer planters will initially gather in designated convergence areas as early as 2 a.m.
He said organizers have set the start of the registration at 6 a.m. for three planting, which will be conducted simultaneously from 9 to 10 a.m.
TreeVolution, which is spearheaded by the Mindanao Development Authority and the DENR, is an attempt to plant a record-breaking 4.6 million seedlings in various sites within Mindanao’s six regions in just an hour.
India currently holds the world record for planting a total of 1,945,535 trees in an activity participated in by 340,200 people across 408 locations.
In Surigao del Norte, the towns of Bacuag and Bucas Grande have set aside 40 hectares and 60 hectares, respectively, for the world record attempt, Josei Casanova, planning officer of DENR in the province said.
She said at least 100,000 assorted trees will be planted in the two towns.
She added various organizations, schools and communities are being tapped to help plant the trees
Casanova said at least 1400 individuals have signified to join.
“I think more trees will be planted on this day because some mining companies in Surigao del Norte are also participating,” she said. (with a report by Roel N. Catoto/MindaNews in Surigao City)