STO. TOMAS -- Embracing the morning sun with shovels and seedlings in hand, acivil society group here started a massive tree planting program targetingpublic secondary and elementary schools here the other day.
The group that calls itself "Kayapan at Pakamal Tamu Sto. Tomas"(Kayaptas) initiated tree planting in various schools of this town in line withits vision of becoming a "key partner and catalyst of comprehensivegrowth" in the Municipality of Sto. Tomas.
Kayaptas said they are responding to the threat of global warming and havecoordinated their efforts through networking with local government officials.
The group's objective here is to distribute and plant 50 trees likemahogany, narra and molave to each of the town's two public high schools andeight elementary schools.
The seedlings were given by the Community, Environment & Natural ResourcesOffice (Cenro).
The three schools that initially benefited from the project include SanBartolome Elementary School, Sto. Tomas Elementary and High School and SanVicente Elementary School.
Pampanga Governor Eddie Panlilio was guest of honor during the event. Rev. Fr.Ramon Torres, parish priest of Sto. Tomas Church, and the respective principalsand teachers of the schools, also took part in the project.
Kayaptas officers, led by its president, Melvin Calalang and members, came infull force. Sto. Tomas Vice Mayor Gloria Ronquillo and the Municipal Councilmembers and Barangay Captains of the three barangays were also present.
According to its vice president and spokesperson, Irwin Nucum, Kayaptas isactively involved in various programs and activities for the improvement of thecommunity in response to the call for good governance and responsiblecitizenship.
Nucum said: "It is one of our missions to participate directly in verysignificant undertakings and advocacies that will benefit not only our town butour entire province and nation as well, hence this noble tree planting. Westrongly believe in the cooling effect of trees through carbonsequestration."
Climate scientists believe that human-induced global deforestation isresponsible for 18 to 25 percent of global climate change. The United Nations,World Bank and other leading non-governmental organizations are encouragingreforestation and other projects that encourage tree planting to mitigate theeffects of climate change.
"Once fully grown, these trees will not only protect the school buildingsbut will also be a good form of investment. But the deeper fruit of the projectis the real 'pamisaupan' (cooperation) that was generated between thelocal government unit and its elected officials and the private sector includingthe local church. It's shared governance at its best," Nucum said.(IOF)