Duterte supporters challenged to plant trees on Arbor Day

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 16 June) – The environment group Green Philippines launched a “Dutertree Challenge” that calls supporters of President-elect Rodrigo Duterte to plant trees on June 25, Arbor Day, in a bid to mitigate the effects of climate change.

“Imagine if all 16.6 million voters who elected Mayor Duterte to the presidency will each plant a tree. We are thinking it could be possible. Considering all the other limitations, kahit one million nun magtanim, that will make a very big difference in our effort to address climate change,” Green Philippines president Felizardo Colambo told “Wednesdays at Habi at Kape” at Abreeza Mall here.

Arbor Day in the Philippines has been “institutionalized to be observed every June 25 throughout the nation by planting trees and ornamental plants and other forms of relevant activities.”

By putting up a challenge, Colambo believes that the people will change their mindset on planting a tree by developing their sense of responsibility and ownership to each seedling that they plant.

On June 25, he said that the challenge will not necessarily require to go with any groups or organizations to plant the seedlings as they can do it even at their own backyard or wherever they choose to do the activity.

“Hindi tayo mag-iinvite para sumama sa isang event. Iniiwasan sa nakagawian, na mag-photo op lang, hindi naalagan. If tinanggap yung challenge to do it by himself, the assumption is that they will take care of that. After maka-participate on his own, saka na natin hihikayatin para sumama in a community,” he said.

Colambo added that the people should realize the need to plant trees in their own backyard first before they would think of engaging themselves in massive reforestation to instill in their minds that they can take part in the call to save the environment on their own means.

“We should take the paradigm shift. Change must come from within,” he said.

Although they are not discouraging companies if they choose to hold tree planting activities as part of their corporate social responsibility (CSR), Colambo said that massive tree planting activities would most likely fail because the seedlings will not be taken care of for lack of sense of ownership.

“Whatever you own you take care of it, hanggang yumabong, dumami, at mapakinabangan… Plant a tree anywhere. You can get a seedling everywhere,” he said.

On Monday, he said they will launch a mobile application of Green Philippines where the participants can post their photos and videos of their participation in the tree planting event.

After the event, Colambo said they will make an assessment to explore the possibility of putting up a tree planting daily challenge in order to develop a habit among the participants.

“Yung app that will lead to a database, ang pledge nya. Lalagyan nya after Arbor Day. We advise na kukuha sila ng video or photo,” he said.