A MILLION TREES. Mayor Carla Lopez-Pichay (sitting, right) of Cantilan town in Surigao del Sur leads the launching of the greening program in the area on Monday (Nov. 9, 2020) that seeks to plant around 1.3 million trees by 2021. The massive tree planting initiative is part of the 'cash for work' program of the municipality. (Photo courtesy of the local government of Cantilan)

BUTUAN CITY – The Surigao del Sur town of Cantila launched Monday a greening program that seeks to plant around 1.3 million trees in the area by next year.

Mayor Carla Lopez-Pichay, who led the launching, said the massive tree planting would be done through the Project Management Office (PMO) of the municipality with the support of the “cash for work” program of the Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office (MSWDO) in the town.

“A total of 1,500 residents from six barangays of Cantilan will be part of the project under our cash for work,” Ms. D U. Pasco of the MSWDO told the Philippine News Agency Monday.

Pasco said that at least 1,500 residents would be paid PHP2,400 each for a six-hour work per day for 10 days under the program.

“After 10 days, it’s the PMO that will continue the implementation of the project,” she said.

Tree species to be planted include those classified as indigenous in parts of Cantilan such as narra, falcata, and fruit trees to include mango, cacao, and guyabano.

Most of the tree seedlings would be planted in the watershed areas of Cantilan, particularly in Barangays Lubo and Cabangahan.

“We will also plant bamboos along with the river systems here in Cantilan for protection from soil erosion, especially along river banks,” Vincent Dueñas, the municipal administrator, said on Monday.

Dueñas said a total of 87,000 seedlings of mangroves would also be planted in the town's four coastal barangays.

To further protect the mangrove areas of the town, Dueñas said the Sangguniang Bayan of Cantilan is now working to establish a mangrove protection site and the construction of a PHP1-million, three-story watchtower.

“There will be no establishment of fish cages and other human activities in these mangrove protected areas,” Dueñas said.

Also, he said Cantilan is also working to plant a million abaca seedlings in the areas of Lubo and Cabangahan.

“These barangays are inhabited mostly by our Indigenous Peoples. Abaca production is among their sources of income. The planting of one million abaca seedlings is separate from the tree planting program of the municipality,” Dueñas said.

The abaca production is in partnership with the Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (Kalahi-CIDSS) program of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), he added. (PNA)