Environment group in ARMM wants to plant 700,000 trees

BARIRA, Maguindanao (MindaNews / 8 Jan) – After decade of promoting environmental protection, the Balik Kalikasan Advocacy Group (BKAG), an organization of environmentalists, vows to plant 700,000 trees in 2015.

To start the year right, the group conducted tree planting activity in Barangay Lipawan in this municipality, together with elementary pupils, teachers and administrators of Barira Central Elementary School.

The Barira local government unit and the Department of Education worked with the advocacy group.

To make the activity more meaningful, the BKAG distributed books to pupils to help them in pursuing better education.

“This is part of our advocacy this year to continue the decade-old advocacy that aims to restore lost forest and Mother Earth that will protect the communities in Barira and nearby towns,” said Col. Arnel dela Vega, commanding officer of the Army’s 603rd Infantry Brigade.

“We are eyeing 700,000 seedlings, or more, to be planted within the next 12 months. We plan to plant Antipolo and Lanipao seedlings or indigenous trees that easily grow here,” Dela Vega.

He lauded the continuing support provided to BKAG by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (DENR-ARMM), 6th Infantry “Kampilan” Division led by Maj. Gen. Edmundo Pangilinan, DepEd, Barira LGU, STI College, Rotary Club, Jaycees, Cotabato Media, Minrico Lumber and civil society organizations.

As part of its social corporate responsibility, Minrico, which is based in the municipality of Sultan Kudarat in Maguindanao, vowed to produce more seedlings to be distributed free of charge to anyone who wish to help protect environment by planting seedlings in their communities or farms.

Dela Vega said the Antipolo and Lanipao seedlings are ideal for planting in open fields or along hills and riverbanks because they grow faster, especially in rich and fertile grounds.

He said aside from restoring green environment, the tree planting could serve as livelihood for farmers who would later sell timber products.

In fact, Dela Vega said some farm owners in the ARMM have already reproduced more seedlings by intercropping plants and plant more in between coconut trees.

Those who participated in the BKAG activity early have started harvesting timber products of Antipolo and Lanipao varieties.

Dela Vega reminded owners of these products to secure necessary permits from the DENR to ensure its legality.

“If they want to earn, they should plant to have something to harvest in the future,” he added.