By Alexander Villafania, loQal.ph
QUEZON CITY, METRO MANILA – The House of Representatives is pushing for a nationwide observance of Arbor Day and mandating local governments to conduct tree-planting activities on this special holiday.
House Bill 4330, which revives the observance of Arbor Day in the Philippines, was recently passed in its third and final reading and is awaiting a counterpart bill from the Senate.
The bill was It was co-authored by Representatives Luis Villafuerte (2nd district Camarines Sur) and Augusto Syjuco (2nd district Iloilo).
A counterpart proposal, Senate Bill 2448, is being pushed by Senator Manny Villar that proposes allocating funds for the celebration of Arbor Day.
The proposal mandates the spearheading of Arbor Day among all provincial, city, and municipal governments by conducting tree planting activities.
Joining these local activities will be representatives from the local offices of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Department of Education (DepEd), Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), Department of Agriculture (DA), Department of Tourism (DOT) and Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).
"The revival of the celebration of Arbor Day throughout the country could be our contribution to the preservation and conservation of our forest resources. With the current eventualities all over the country, this is our chance to at least minimize the effect of global warming due to climate change brought by forest denudation worldwide," according to Villafuerte.
The Philippines has traditionally joined Arbor Day after former President Gloria Arroyo signed in 2003 Proclamation 643, declaring every June 25 as Philippines Arbor Day.
Arbor Day started in the United States by Arbor Foundation and is observed in dozens of countries. The observance days in each country differ depending on the start of specific seasons and the suitability of the climate where planted trees have more chances of surviving.
These tree planting activities re also aimed at protecting the environment from degradation and the effects of natural events such as typhoons and flooding. In urban settings, planting of trees is aimed at improving air quality as trees provide natural air purification from the burning of fossil fuels, particularly from vehicle exhaust.
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