Monday, June 20, 2011

Zamboanga prepares for Arbor Day celebration

Members of the Task Force Siembrada during a news conference Monday, June 20, 2011 in Zamboanga City in the southern Philippines. (Amir Mawalil - Mindanao Examiner Photo)

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / June 20, 2011) – Preparations are underway for the celebration of the Arbor Day in Zamboanga City in the southern Philippines, organizers said on Monday.

The non-governmental organization called Task Force Siembrada said at least 20 schools and organizations are expected to join the June 25 celebration. Thousands of people are expected to join the massive tree planting activities in various sites in Zamboanga.

“We are encouraging every one to join us in this endeavor and hopefully we can plant more trees each year as part of the Arbor Day celebration,” said lawyer Kim Elago, the acting chairman of the Task Force Siembrada.

Siembrada is a local term which means “to plant.”

Zamboanga City Mayor Celso Lobregat, himself a strong advocate of eco-tourism, is also expected to lead a separate Arbor Day celebration with civil employees and regional government agencies.

Jerico Bustamante, Secretary-General of the Task Force Siembrada, said some 5,000 trees are planted every year during Arbor Day which began in Zamboanga in 2004.

“We hope to implement more advocacies and program and sustain the planting of trees, especially in our watershed and mangrove areas,” he said.

Bustamante said the government’s Social Security System and the Kasanyangan-Mindanao Foundation Incorporated have partnered with the Task Force Siembrada in this year’s tree planting holiday.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources provide seedlings each year to locals who are participating in the Arbor Day celebration.

Zamboanga City has declared June 25 of each year as Arbor Day which enjoins the different sectors to participate in the mass tree planting activities in coastal and mangrove area, uplands, watersheds, tree parks and other designated areas for tree planting.

The Arbor Day Foundation is the world’s oldest and largest tree-planting organization with its million members plant million trees every year. New members receive 10 free trees. The foundation, founded more than 120 years ago in Nebraska with a mission to inspire people to plant, nurture, and celebrate trees. (With a report from Amir Mawalil)

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