Do you agree with the proposal of the Department of Education (DepEd) to require yearly tree planting for the country’s 25 million students?
This proposal is in response to President Rodrigo Duterte’s call to protect the environment in his recent State of the Nation Address (SONA).
It's a sound proposal, from where we sit, and deserves serious consideration.
The rationale for this is that, by mobilizing and harnessing 25 million students all over the country to each plant one tree every year in schools, communities and other designated areas, such as watersheds, the Education department would be able to give inculcate in them the core value of makakalikasan, or pro-environment.
The DepEd proposal builds on the Annual Million Tree Challenge organized by the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) that last year was able to plant 1.2 million trees in six critical watersheds of Ipo, Angat, Umiray, Marikina, La Mesa and Laguna Lake.
The tree-planting project would serve to key purposes. One, it would prove helpful and relevant in the recovery of the drastic loss of forest cover in the Philippines. And two, by requiring students to each plant a tree every year, they will not only learn about reforestation, but also make them more conscious of conserving water.
Protecting our watersheds is timely and appropriate in the wake of massive flooding, catastrophic landslides, and devastating loss of lives, livelihood and property due to climate change. We must all do our part in the task of reforesting and rehabilitating our key watershed areas.
Apart from this initiative, the DepEd also plans to revive one of its greening programs, the School in Garden, or SIGA. This aims to help learners take part in making their own schools green and colorful by planting native and endemic plant species in their campuses, homes and communities.
At present, public elementary and secondary schools have the Youth for Environment in School Organization, or YES-O, where students undertake different projects and activities to address environmental issues and therefore help achieve a greener and healthier environment.
If 25 million students each plant even just one tree every year, imagine the impact this would have on our natural environment.