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PIA Press Release

P400-T foreign grant to undertake tree planting in Cebu City

Cebu City (7 September) -- A foreign-funded grant of P400T to undertake a reforestation project and forest management seminar in Cebu City to address the alarming problem of dwindling forest cover has been given to a locally-based non-government organization.

Pollution Control Association of the Philippines, Inc. - Central Visayas Chapter (PCAPI-7) president Oscar Ma said their group has gotten the approval for foreign funding from the Kitakyushu International Techno-Cooperative Association (KITA) in partnership with AEON Foundation of Kitakyushu City, Japan of P1M yen or roughly P400T financial grant to conduct a tree planting activity and orientation seminar on the positive benefits of tree planting from the environmental and livelihood aspects.

Ma said the tree planting is set this Sunday, Sept. 9 that aims to plant 400 different species of forest and fruit trees that will cover a one-hectare forest protected zone in Barangay Pung-ol, Sibugay, Cebu City. The project is also aimed at creating opportunities for the members of the people's organization to augment and sustain their prime source of livelihood when the trees bear fruits, this is learned.

Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR-7) Chief of the Coastal and Marine Management Division Edmondo Aregadas said Cebu 's natural forest cover is barely one percent and this figure continues to be threatened with a rapid population growth coupled with upland development.

The tree planting activity is enhanced with a seminar-workshop component to provide the participants (students and members of the barangay's people's organization and their children) the chance to internalize and recognize the significance of tree planting to man and the environment.

KITA director Yuji Yasuda said their group aims to help developing countries through financial grants in undertaking environmental projects that will see the importance of managing and nurturing the ecosystem for a better future to the succeeding generations.

Yasuda said Japan is undertaking massive reforestation for quite some time now and that their country's natural forest cover is about 60-70 percent. A natural forest cover of 20 to 30 percent is sufficient to maintain a harmonious balance among environment, population and development, Aregadas earlier bared.

This is the second time the PCAPI-7 has undertaken a reforestation project. Last year, the group planted 600 fruit-bearing trees in Barangay Sapangdaku in Guadalupe, Cebu City .

Last year's reforestation activity witnessed had a 60 percent survival rate, according to PCAPI-7 project chairman Connie Sumalinog. Although Sumalinog added that those fruit trees that have died were replaced.

In order to have a high survival rate this time, Sumalinog said they are partnering with the Cebu Uniting for Sustainable Water (CUSW) in order to check that the participating communities are also doing their share in maintaining and sustaining the growth of the fruit-bearing seeds.

Sumalinog said the biggest challenge confronted by their group is active community participation and involvement as she pegged the community awareness level on the importance of taking care of the environment at 60 percent but converting this awareness to action is a huge problem.

Yasuda on the other hand, said "nothing can move forward if no one will take action," as he urged every citizen to do their share in taking care of the environment and not depend on the government alone. (PIA-Cebu/FCR) [top]

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