MANILA – Dioceses in the Cagayan Valley region are looking to plant more than a million trees in 500 days.
The initiative, dubbed as “Missio 500”, aims to plant 500 trees per day in the Archdiocese of Tuguegarao and each in its suffragans – the dioceses of Ilagan and Bayombong, the vicariate of Tabuk, and the prelature of Batanes.
The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) said on its news website on Friday that the program’s target is to plant at least 1.25 million trees by early next year.
The ecological project was launched on Thursday before the ceremony for the imposition of the sacred pallium on Tuguegarao Archbishop Ricardo Baccay.
Baccay said the launch was scheduled during the occasion “as a symbol of our solidarity, working together, and convergence.”
The project also aims to celebrate this year’s 500th anniversary of the arrival of Christianity in the Philippines.
The organizers expect the number of trees to be planted to exceed the target as the initiative also involves local governments, civil society organizations, and non-government organizations.
Bayombong Bishop Elmer Mangalinao said the flooding that affected thousands of families in November last year shows “the urgency to protect our common home.”
“The Missio 500 is a testament to our commitment to teach, to mold, and to remind our faithful that we are the stewards of God’s creation,” he said.
Batanes Bishop Danilo Ulep has expressed his prelature’s commitment to the initiative.
“May this project intensify and strengthen our advocacy to protect God’s creation and heal the wounds of mother earth for (the) sustainable development of our communities,” he said.
Also launched was the Metropolitan Ecology Desk and the Eco-convergence Luzon Hub, in partnership with Caritas Philippines.
Eco-convergence is a partnership of church and civil society groups to promote the teachings of Pope Francis’ encyclical on ecology, Laudato Si.
The other two regional hubs for the initiative are the Diocese of San Carlos in the Visayas and the Diocese of Marbel in Mindanao. (PNA)