GREENING ACTIVITY. Personnel of several government agencies on Tuesday (Sept. 13, 2022) plant some 1,000 forest and fruit-bearing tree seedlings in Barangay San Juan Baño, Arayat, Pampanga, one of the identified tree planting sites in Central Luzon. The activity kicked off the nationwide simultaneous tree planting program of the Department of the Interior and Local Government aimed at protecting the environment. (Photo courtesy of the Provincial Government of Pampanga)

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga – At least 1,000 forest and fruit-bearing tree seedlings were planted on Tuesday in Arayat town, one of the identified tree planting sites in Central Luzon.

The activity in Barangay San Juan Baño served as the kick-off ceremony for the nationwide simultaneous tree planting program of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) with the theme: “Buhayin ang Pangangalaga ng Kalikasan.”

The DILG, in partnership with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Department of Agriculture (DA), the provincial government of Pampanga, and other government agencies conducted the tree planting activity in support of the greening program of the government.

“Dito natin isinagawa ang tree-planting activity, una ay dahil kabilang ang San Juan Baño sa listahan ng identified areas ng DENR, kasama na rin dito ay dahil isa siya sa mga protected area ng Pampanga. Napili rin natin ito, dahil very conducive siya for planting, at saka para mabuhay ‘yung mga itinanim nating halaman (The tree planting activity was conducted here, first because San Juan Baño is included in the DENR’s list of identified areas. Also, it is one of the protected areas in Pampanga. We also chose to conduct the tree planting activity here because the area is very conducive for planting),” Lianne Abegail Muñoz, program manager of the DILG-Pampanga, said in a social media post.

Arayat Vice Mayor Emmanuel “Bon” Alejandrino, meanwhile, cited the importance of the activity, saying this is one way of educating the people on how to protect nature.

He also warned the individuals who are engaged in the illegal cutting of trees and those illegally occupying lands within protected areas.

Roger Encarnacion, officer-in-charge of the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office, said those individuals who will be caught violating the environmental laws will face charges.

“Una, pwede silang patawan ng parusa sa National Integrated Protected Area System Act, so makukulong sila ng almost six years pataas, depende sa value, sa pamumutol ‘yon. Tungkol naman sa fencing, illegal occupation naman ang magiging violation nila riyan. So, mayro’n silang illegal fencing, illegal occupation of land at illegal cutting kasi may mga kahoy rin ‘yung ginamit nila. Lahat ng ‘yan ay may mga kaakibat na kaparusahan sa ating mga existing na batas (First, they may face sanction in violation of the National Integrated Protected Area System Act. They will be jailed for almost six years or more, depending on the value, on the cuttings. In case of fencing, illegal occupation will be their violation. So, they have to face illegal fencing, illegal occupation of land and illegal cutting because they have woods that were used. All of these have accompanying penalties in our existing laws),” Encarnacion said. (PNA)