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PIA Press Release

Soldiers lead in realization of PGMA’s "Berdeng Pilipinas"

Tacloban City (May 29) -- After witnessing the men on uniform safeguarding the lives of the people in the hinterlands, doing rescue operations during the worst calamities which struck the country in the recent past, literally building houses for the victims of disasters, building schools in areas where private contractors fear to tread, building roads so that the unreachable barangays could be reached, another facet of the men in uniform is beginning to be exposed, that of the Army as environmental soldiers, staunch supporters of environmental protection and preservation.

The Department of National Defense and the Armed Forces of the Philippines through the Philippine Army serves as the lead agency in a collaborative effort among eight government agencies and two non-government organizations, towards a healthy environment.

The Philippine Army, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the Department of Education, the Department of Public Works and Highways, the Department of Agrarian Reform, the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Interior and Local Government and the Philippine Information Agency together with the ABS-CBN Foundation Inc.-Bantay Kalikasan and the Couples for Christ-Oikos Society, signed a memorandum of understanding agreed to join hands in launching a nationwide tree-planting activity dubbed as the Greening Program with the theme “Puno Para Sa Kinabukasan” in support to President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s Berdeng Pilipinas Program, on June 29, 2007 and a yearly activity thereafter.

The multipartite body, with the Philippine Army as chairman, hopes to act as catalyst to mobilize and encourage support from the different sectors of the society in environmental protection through the “Berdeng Pilipinas” program, believing that environmental protection is not a monopoly of the government but it is a responsibility of every member of the society as stakeholders.

The Philippine Army, as the lead agency throughout the duration of the project, will make available one million seedlings for the activity, to provide physical facility to include communication and to provide manpower and resources.

The signatories agreed to ensure the survival of the trees planted under the Program and to drum up awareness on environmental preservation and protection, the Greening Program shall attempt to set a record in the Guinness World Records to set a trend on tree-planting activities.

In the next five years, the men in uniform will lead in the planting of about 25 million seedlings in military camps and reservations, school premises and other selected areas to protect watershed and the remaining forests, to conserve biodiversity, to restore air quality and to reverse the trends of environmental degradation. (PIA 8) [top]

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