Luntiang Pilipinas Party-list on Monday formally launched a campaign in Calamba, Laguna to plant ten million trees in the Philippines as part of a nationwide regreening effort that would help improve the country's environment.
According to Luntian first nominee Michael Ubac, "our objective is not just to win a seat in Congress so we can fight for the cause of the environment; our rallying call is also this: make the Philippines green again!"
"We lose around 47,000 hectares of forest cover each year, and if we do not do anything to reverse this trend, these losses will have tragic consequences for our country's biodiversity, water security, and disaster prevention efforts," said the former journalist.
The University of the Philippines and Harvard University alumnus explained that "today we only have less than a third of the forest cover we had at the turn of the 20th century."
"From 21 million hectares of forests in 1900, we are now left with less than seven million hectares of forests. This cannot be allowed to be left unchecked. Only by working together, by rallying Filipinos and our leaders to this cause, will we be able to reverse the tide."
Senator Loren Legarda, founder of Luntiang Pilipinas movement, said that the challenge is doable if everyone gets involved.
"'Sa Bawat Punong Itanim, Buhay ang Aanihin' has been the slogan of Luntiang Pilipinas when I launched the movement in 1998, with the aim of growing trees and establishing forest parks nationwide. We wanted to show that with simple acts, such as planting a tree and letting it grow, we can all do our part in protecting the Earth and ensuring our survival," said Legarda.
"The 10-million trees challenge should be easy for us because if each Filipino does his or her share, we would have a hundred million trees and thousands of thriving forest parks in our country," she added.
The launching of the campaign coincided with several activities, such as a Luntian Green Rider bike ride from Batangas City to Laguna, a rally endorsing the "10 million trees challenge" with Senate President Vicente "Tito" Sotto III and several senatorial candidates, and a tree-planting activity at the City Hall grounds.
Also on hand to host the activities were Calamba Mayor Justin Marc "Timmy" Chipeco and Laguna Vice Gov. Karen Agapay.
Founded in 1998 by Senator Legarda, Luntiang Pilipinas is responsible for planting and growing two million trees in 33 provinces, 28 cities, and 84 municipalities across the country.
The group's platform is founded on its four pillars: regreening (forest parks, mangrove growing and gulayan sa paaralan); ecological solid waste management; coastal and marine resource management; and disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation.
Luntiang Pilipinas is vying to be the first green party in the House of Representatives. It has been endorsed by the Senate President and Aksyon Demokratiko, the party founded by the late Sen. Raul Roco.
Source: Senate of the Philippines