All Set for Koronadal’s 4th Tree Growing Festival

KORONADAL CITY (MindaNews/28 June)– It’s all systems go for the launching on Sunday of the city’s 4th Tree Growing Festival, a massive greening initiative that targets the planting of around a million trees until the end of the year.

City Mayor Peter Miguel said Saturday thousands of volunteers have so far signed up to join the festivity, which is considered as the biggest tree planting activity in Region 12 or the Soccsksargen Region.

He said among those who signed up were teachers and students of various public and private schools, colleges and a local university, government employees, barangay officials and volunteers, members of civic groups and non-government organizations and workers of local business establishments and other local stakeholders.

The city’s 27 barangay councils, which are fully supporting the initiative, had spearheaded a massive registration campaign for volunteer-planters in their areas.

The city government also established booths in the city’s three major shopping malls — Gaisano Grand, KCC and Ace Centerpoint – to facilitate the registration of more volunteers.

“We’re actually targeting to mobilize all city residents, both young and old, to sign up and join the activity. We’ll all go out and plant anything available — trees, vegetables and even ornamental plants,” the mayor said.

Miguel said the activity will now cover all available lands within the city’s 27 barangays, a major leap from the previous festivities that only focused on selected sites in mountain ranges straddling the area.

He said the greening sites include the sides of national highways as well as provincial, city and barangay roads within the city.

Unlike the first three festivals, which were done in only one day, this year’s initiative will be conducted in several phases until the end of the year, he said.

Miguel said part of the targeted one million trees will be planted on Sunday and another portion during the city’s charter anniversary in October.

“The planting schedule might stretch to December and we will not stop planting until we reach our goal of one million trees,” Miguel said.

The mayor said they have adopted various strategies to make sure that the planted trees would survive and grow as intended.

“The challenge for us is to ensure that 99 percent of these trees will survive,” he said.

To achieve such target, he said they have linked up with the barangay councils for the proper caring and regular monitoring of the planted trees.

For trees planted in the upland areas or for reforestation purposes, Miguel said they have tied up with the indigent upland farmers who are holding certificates of stewardship contracts under the Integrated Social Forestry and the Community-Based Forestry Management programs.

He said these farmers are mainly based in communities within the Roxas and Quezon mountain ranges.

Also tapped were private landowners and farmers tilling timberlands as well as alienable and disposable lands.

Held every June 29, the city’s Tree Growing Festival is part of the green economy component of the local government’s Masaganang Kalikasan program.

The city government decided to launch the tree-growing festival in 2011 to highlight the local celebration of the International Environment Month held every June and in support to the Aquino administration’s National Greening Program.

During its launching, around 25,000 local volunteers planted a total of 131,028 tree seedlings in 522.78 hectares of idle lands along the Roxas Mountain Range covering six barangays.

The 2012 activity covered around 1,000 hectares of planting sites in five barangays along the Quezon mountain range and with around 250,000 tree seedlings planted.

Last year, local volunteers were able to plant around 500,000 tree seedlings in sites situated in 11 of the city’s 27 barangays that are straddled by the Roxas and Quezon mountain ranges. - MindaNews

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