By Charissa Luci-Atienza
The House Committee on Appropriations has approved a substitute bill requiring all graduating elementary, high school and college students to plant at least 10 trees each as a prerequisite for graduation.
The House panel passed the substitute bill to House Bills 1154 and 3132, authored by MAGDALO partylist Rep. Gary Alejano and Cavite Rep. Strike Revilla.
“Recognizing that a system of inter-generational equity involving both rights and responsibilities may be substantially more effective in achieving the twin goals of environment protection and sustainable development, this bill seeks to impose a positive duty upon all graduating elementary, high school and college students to plant at least 10 trees as prerequisite for graduation. These trees shall be their legacy to the environment and to future generations,” Alejano said.
He said the measure seeks to complement Executive Order No. 26, Series of 2011, issued by former President Benigno S. Aquino III, which aims to mobilize students and government employees to plant 1.5 billion trees over a period of six years, from 2011 to 2016.
“With over 12 million students graduating from elementary and nearly five million students graduating from high school and almost 500,000 graduating from college each year, this initiative, if properly implemented, will ensure that at least 175 million new trees would be planted each year, ” he said.
Alejano said in the course of one generation, no less than 525 billion trees can be planted under this initiative.
“Even with a survival rate of 10 percent, this would mean an additional 525 million trees would be available for the youth to enjoy when they assume the mantle of leadership in the future, ” he said.
The substitute bill provides that all graduating grade-school or primary education (Grade 6 or 7) students, high school or secondary education (fourth year high school) students, as well as all college or university students shall be required to plant 10 trees as a mandatory prerequisite for their graduation.