July 19, 2024

Many are familiar with the lines, “Poems are made by fools like me, but only God can make a tree” from the poem “Trees” by Joyce Kilmer which much be one of the most famous poetical works ever composed.
On a lighter note, many may have also heard of the joke that while only God can make a tree, everything else is made in China. Again, this is just mentioned in jest although with more and more products dominating the market with the “Made in China” insignia, there must be a little truth in it.
Anyway, our country once again celebrated the Philippine Arbor Day on June 25 pursuant to Proclamation 643, s. 2004, which states that “It is necessary to declare a day each year to conducting actual tree planting to foster partnership and environmental stewardship among various sectors in our society.”
The measure enjoins all government agencies, including government-owned and controlled corporations, private sector, schools, civil society groups and the citizenry, to participate in planting trees and ornamental plants, and in other forms of activities.
This near-sighted Ibaloy writer can confidently say in Baguio, the city government has been very active when it comes to implementing environmental programs especially tree-planting efforts participated by those in government and the private sector.
We have the ongoing Saleng/Pine Tree festival that, by its title, promotes the propagation of pine trees and other endemic plants among other projects. Lest we forget, Baguio is also known as the “City of Pines”, after all, first settled by my Ibaloy ancestors.
We all know how important trees are to the environment and how it contributes greatly in providing clean air, the prevention of soil erosion and landslides especially in mountainous areas like Baguio, the collection of water, and the like.
Experts have also stressed the positive mental health benefits derived from being surrounded by nature and thus, we are encouraged to engage in forest bathing regularly to lead physically and mentally healthier and even happier lives.
With this in mind, we hope our honorable officials continue to strike a happy balance between development and taking care of the environment. While we recognize that development is needed, especially in a highly-urbanized city like ours where overpopulation is a challenge, it is also equally important that as much as possible, development is made without sacrificing the environment like our trees.
May we also be reminded that when it comes to environmental protection, we are all stakeholders no matter what sector we belong to.
May our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ continue to bless and keep us all safe.