January 29, 2023

Baguio City Rep. Mark Go supports Agriculture Sec. William Dar’s call for massive reforestation efforts to prevent severe flooding in the wake of Typhoon Ulysses’ havoc across parts of the Cagayan Valley.

Go was reacting to Dar’s televised interview where he discussed adopting a holistic approach in controlling flooding during typhoons, combining engineering efforts with reforestation across the country’s major watersheds.

Go is the author of two tree-planting bills: HB 6931, which mandates all graduating senior high school and college students to plant two trees as a graduation requirement, and HB 6930, also known as the F1amily Tree-Planting Act where parents will be required to plant two trees for every child born to them.

Once passed into law, the bills will add approximately five million trees and four million trees to the country’s annual forest stock, respectively.

Go said lawmakers can adopt parts of Dar’s proposal as amendments to the tree-planting bills. These include the identification of the country’s 18 largest watersheds as priority areas for reforestation, as well as prioritizing stock for certain seedlings such as bamboo and fruit trees with economic viability.

Go underscored the urgency to rehabilitate the environment as the country continues to find itself on the path of natural calamities and that reforestation efforts must be made mandatory and part of civic responsibility.

Citing statistics from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Go said the Philippines loses 47,000 hectares of forest cover annually.

He said the massive loss affects food and water security and leads to the destruction of lands, life, and local biodiversity.

Go added that the aftermath of Typhoon Ulysses is a wakeup call to prioritize massive reforestation efforts and environmental rehabilitation in pursuit of sustainable development and economic growth. – Press release