Studes, green groups plant trees to remember lessons of past disasters

ANTIPOLO CITY – Students and environmentalists led by Kalikasan Party-list today called on Filipinos to support grassroots reforestation efforts and cultivate ecological awareness, planting tree seedlings in the Marikina watershed to symbolize the seeds of change.

The tree-planting activity was held earlier this morning in Sitio Panusungin, Antipolo City, within the vicinity of the Marikina watershed. It was spearheaded by Brigada Kalikasan in cooperation with Kalikasan Party-list and the Kalingap Marikina Watershed project.

The event was timed to commemorate the third year of the Typhoon Pepeng disaster in 2009. Coming to the Philippines just days after the disastrous Typhoon Ondoy, Pepeng was a strong but slow-moving storm that remained in the country’s area of responsibility for nearly one week, causing massive damage and displacement in Regions 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, Cordillera and National Capital Region.

“We urge fellow citizens to learn from the lessons of past disasters. Deforested watershed areas are more vulnerable to flash floods and landslides. During typhoons and extreme weather events, these areas can fail to hold back huge amounts of rainfall which are then discharged to low-lying areas where communities are often situated,” the group said in a statement.

“Though the Philippines is among the richest countries worldwide in terms of natural wealth and biodiversity, the many environmental disasters of the past years remind us that this abundance is also fragile and can be easily lost if not nurtured and protected from plunder. Already, the country has lost so many of its original forests due to legal and illegal logging, large-scale mining, and conversion to plantations,” Kalikasan said.

“Planting trees to help reforest denuded areas is one of the many actions that citizens can undertake to help mitigate deforestation-related problems and disasters that threaten the people’s lives. Other significant actions that can be undertaken is to support the calls of grassroots communities to halt large-scale mining operations and land conversion which are among the drivers of deforestation in many areas,” Kalikasan said.

Students from various universities, professionals and Kalikasan volunteers participated in this month’s tree-planting activity. Kalikasan has been regularly supporting the reforestation efforts to restore ecological balance in the Marikina watershed.

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