Vego underscore importance of tree growing during Leon's Arbor Day 2015 celebration

Little Baguio. Towering Benguet pines (extreme left) of Bucari in Leon helps to keep the weather cool. Thousands flocked to Sitio Tabionan, Brgy. Bucari (middle photo) during the Arbor Day 2015 tree growing event. DENR 6 ARD for Technical Services Jesse L. Vego (extreme right) underscored the importance of tree growing and in particular, of Benguet pines.

For the love of tree growing, thousands of volunteers have climb up the steep mountain of Brgy. Bucari in Leon, Iloilo to join this year’s National Arbor Day 2015.

With the theme “Pangalagaan ang Kalikasan: Kasali Ka Ba?”, the event was held on June 25, 2015 under the canopy of towering Benguet pines. The whole thing looked like some kind of a big feast. More than 2,600 individuals, mostly made up of the academe, have supported this year’s event.

“We need to change because of climate change. I am thankful for all the support that our people are giving to this event. Through this endeavor, we are slowly but surely teaching the next generation to love tree growing,” Leon municipal mayor Rolito Cajilig said.

“Back then, some 37 years ago, tree planting is an obligation. Now it is even more necessary with the challenges we face with climate change and global warming,” Mayor Cajilig added.

The National Arbor Day 2015 celebration was spearheaded by the LGU Leon with strong support from DENR-CENRO, the community and the academe.

           A “Binalaybay” competition was conducted with each “Binalaybay” piece anchored on Arbor Day’s theme.

DENR 6 Assistant Regional Director  for Technical Services Jesse L. Vego discussed the importance of tree growing and also recalled to all participants how a reforestation project in Leon was started yet in 1979 but how the pines growing there are “lacking” the cones that usually got dispersed to grow as Benguet pines in other portions of the forest.

“What you usually see as Christmas décors are “cones” from Benguet pines but you can’t find it here among the towering pines of Bucari. It is the same condition of the pines we have in Valderrama, Antique and in Mt. Kanla-on National Park in Negros Occidental,” disclosed ARD Vego.

He also told the participants that reforestation project in Bucari, Leon actually began as far back as 1938.

Guimbal municipal mayor Christine Garin lauded the grand celebration she witnessed in Bucari, Leon. “So this is how grand your Arbor Day is. I came here with my barangay captains just to see Bucari, not knowing that your Arbor Day celebration have this very strong support. I did not regret I came here and I have witnessed how much you love planting trees,” Garin said.


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'Tropical Design' in Boracay Pushed

The Municipal Planning and Urban Design Guidelines Review Committee (MPUDGRC) created by the local government of Malay, Aklan under Executive Order No. 10 signed by then Acting Mayor Abram Sualog, mandates the review of plans for the construction of new structures or renovations to be done on buildings in Boracay Island, as well as the inspection of the progress of developments to ensure that they follow the island’s “tropical design” rules.

            The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) believes that the “tropical design” will be the new branding of the islands’ infrastructures to the tourism industry. Aside from this, the design that will be done on the existing buildings shall be environment-friendly while at the same time promote a local culture. Thus, this may add as an additional attraction in the island aside from its famous turquoise water and powdery-white sand.

The ordinance emphasizes the use of wood, bamboo, "stone elements," non-combustible thatched roofing, and earth-tone colors as exterior and interior paint for structures.

It also calls for the integration of design elements such as large windows to allow for natural lighting and cooling, high ceilings for better air circulation, tropical elements in building entrances, and landscaped areas with local/native trees and plants.

The guidelines also require the use of ancient script “Baybayin” as the main language for signages, with translations in English and other languages as needed.

The guidelines were issued a few months after the reopening of the island paradise in October. It was shut down for six months last year for rehabilitation, after President Rodrigo Duterte sounded the alarm on environmental degradation and overdevelopment on the island.

The DENR 6 is glad to hear such news, as it would support Boracay’s carrying capacity by using light materials instead of heavy-concrete one in building establishments at the island.  

Furthermore, DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu noted that the whole rehabilitation keeps getting better during its first year.

The highest coliform level recorded for the past months was only 40 most probable number (mpn) per 100 milliliters. It passed the safe level of 100  mpn/ml for Class SB water that is suitable for swimming, skin diving and other recreational activities.

Aside from that, Secretary Cimatu also said that there is “no algae year-round”, indicating that the rehabilitation effort had paid off. Fifty one (51) establishments along the white beach now have their own sewage treatment plants (STPs) while others are now connected to the sewer line.

Meanwhile, the Boracay Inter-Agency Task Force (BIATF) celebrated a week-long “Sustainability Week” dubbed as #LoveBOracay, which is a celebration of the one year Boracay Closure. The activities run from April 26-May 1, 2019 and focused on the need to keep Boracay Island sustainable.  

Food fest, exhibits, drone festival, ocean jams, sustainable talks and clean ups were the activities done for the whole week.

            DENR 6 Regional Executive Director Fransisco E. Milla, Jr. said that aside from the branding design this may help the environmental concerns of the island. “This (tropical design) will help the island to breathe freely from heavy constructions. Aside from that, this will help ease the burden on the island’s carrying capacity and pollution, from air conditioned-concrete buildings in the island,” RED Milla said.


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