The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has led the planting of at least 1,000 native tree seedlings at the Masungi Geopark reforestation site in Baras, Rizal, as part of the intensified protection program for Masungi and Upper Marikina Watershed.
The seedlings, composed of 200 guyabano, 150 cacao, 150 coffee, 200 banaba, 200 bitaog, and 100 balobo, were planted last weekend by almost 400 representatives from the DENR, Armed Forces of the Philippines, Philippine National Police, Bureau of Fire Protection, Bureau of Corrections, local stakeholders, and environment advocates.
In a statement, DENR Undersecretary for Special Concerns Edilberto Leonardo reiterated the importance of protecting the watershed.
“Kailangang protektahan natin ang mga lugar na ganito. Ito ay watershed–watersource. Kapag naubos ang puno sa itaas, wala nang makakareregulate ng tubig para dumaloy sa baba. (We need to protect places like this. It is a watershed–watersource. When the tree above is depleted, no one can regulate the water and will freely flow downstream),” Leonardo said.
DENR-CALABARZON Regional Executive Director Nonito Tamayo said the tree planting activity is part of the government’s National Greening Program (NGP) to restore our lost forest.
“Sana ay maging regular na parte ng buhay natin ang pagtatanim ng puno hindi lang sa mga watersheds kung hindi sa mga likod bahay natin at bakanteng spaces sa ating mga lugar. Hindi lamang ito para sa atin kung hindi para sa mga susunod pang henerasyon. (Hopefully planting trees will become a regular part of our lives not only in the watersheds but also in our backyards and vacant spaces in our communities. It is not only for us but for future generations),” Tamayo added.
DENR-Region CALABARZON, together with the DENR Office for Special Concerns, Environmental Protection and Enforcement Task Force, Rizal Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office, and Philippine National Police had vowed to enforce intensified forest protection activities, such as continuous conduct of the Lawin Forest and Biodiversity Protection System, a web-based mobile application to patrol the area.
It also committed to enhance the NGP sites with continuous planting of indigenous tree species.
DENR-CALABARZON also aims to convert graduated NGP sites into a strict protection zone.
Likewise, the DENR regional office is looking at collaborative capacity-building activities with the indigenous peoples, and intensification of information, education, and communication campaign against various harmful activities, such as charcoal making and illegal tree cutting.