By Juan Escandor Jr.
Philippine Daily Inquirer
12:46 am | Thursday, November 17th, 2011
On that day, the agency planted 111,111 seedlings simultaneously in nine towns of the second district, with the participation of about 1,500 volunteers mobilized by Rep. Deogracias B. Ramos Jr.
Annabelle Barquilla, public information officer of the DENR in the province, said the greening program included planting mangrove propagules in Prieto Diaz, Gubat and Barcelona, and tree seedlings in the upland areas of Bulusan, Irosin, Matnog, Sta. Magdalena, Bulan and Juban.
Both the Bulusan Volcano National Park and the Prieto Diaz Mangrove Forest, which have been bestowed the Philippine Wetlands Conservation Award and the Best Coastal Management Program, are found in the second district, whose climate is characterized as having a short dry season from April to August and a pronounced maximum rainfall from November to January.
In a statement, Rene Camacho, acting provincial environment and natural resources officer, said the seedlings of forest, fruit-bearing and mangrove trees were planted in the denuded areas of the nine municipalities. The activity would continue until at least 203 hectares of land have been covered, Barquilla said.
According to DENR records, Sorsogon’s forest cover is 16,455 ha or only 7.68 percent of its total land size of 214,144 ha.
Krisma Rodriguez, acting community environment and natural resources officer in the district, said the project was initiated by Ramos to promote environmental awareness in the upland communities and encourage private-public partnership.
Citing the role of forests as a sink, trap and storage of carbon dioxide, Ramos said he had asked the local government units, DENR and the people of Sorsogon to cooperate in sending a strong message that protecting the environment is a universal responsibility.
The tree planting initiative was in line with the Aquino administration’s target to plant 1.5 billion trees by 2016.
A similar activity was undertaken on Saturday in the coastal villages of Tayabas Bay in Quezon.
Zenaida Bernal, coordinator of the Tanggol Kalikasan-Southern Tagalog, said more than 200 volunteers joined the launching of a mangrove protection project undertaken by her group, the local government of Sariaya, and Rep. Irvin Alcala.
Before the start of the activity, Ernesto Amores Jr., Sariaya municipal agriculturist, demonstrated the proper way of planting the propagules to ensure their growth.
Some 6,000 propagules were planted in the coastline of Barangay Castañas, which was chosen as a pilot site in October for its capacity to sustain a high growth rate. With a report from Delfin T. Mallari Jr.