ARMM mulls massive planting of trees along highways

Climate Change/Environment • Sun Oct 8, 2017 12:56 PM  •  175   0
By John Unson
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COTABATO CITY - Local sectors will start planting in 2018 millions of forest trees along highways in five southern provinces to create environmentally iconic landmarks for each area. 

Hadji Kahal Kedtag, secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, said on Sunday that the program shall be pioneered in Maguindanao using tree seedlings from their nursery in Datu Odin Sinsuat town in the province. 

The program shall involve the DENR-ARMM, local government units, the police, the military and non-government organizations.  

The ARMM covers Maguindanao and Lanao del Sur, which are both in mainland Mindanao, and the island provinces of Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi. 

The mayor of Lamitan City, Rose Furigay, was among the local officials in the region who immediately pledged support for the project. 

Furigay said they are also ready to plant forest tree seedlings along highways straddling through Lamitan City, capital of Basilan, with seedlings supplied by Kedtag. 

“Any project good for the environment, we will support willingly,” Furigay told this news outfit Sunday via text message. 

Kedtag said the planned planting of trees along highways in the autonomous region is in support of the environment-protection efforts in Southern Philippines of President Rodrigo Duterte. 

He said they aim to plant forest trees along stretches of the Cotabato-Isulan highway in Maguindanao starting 2018 as initial phase of the project. 

“Once the trees have grown, people would know they are in the ARMM whenever they pass through these highways,” Kedtag said. 

Kedtag said the project was recommended by Gov. Mujiv Hataman, the chief executive of ARMM, whose office has ministerial control over the region’s natural resources department. 

Functions of the DENR are fully devolved to the ARMM government based on the region’s charter, the Republic Act 9054. 

“We shall also involve local commanders of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front in this venture because they can help watch over the seedlings we are to plant along the highways,” Kedtag said. 

The DENR-ARMM’s nursery of forest trees in Lomboy area in Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao now has more than two million seedlings that can be utilized initially for the project. 

The DENR-ARMM earlier planted more than a million seedlings on watersheds near the nursery, close to a forest from where springs Dimapatoy River that supplies water to more than half of the 37 barangays in Cotabato City. 

Kedtag on Wednesday led the launching of the DENR-ARMM’s first ever book style publication “Gaddung,” which means green in most Moro dialects. 

The publication outlines the environment-protection campaigns of the agency. 

Kedtag said the Gaddung also has updated reports on on-going projects of DENR-ARMM. 

The launching of the publication at DENR-ARMM’s office in the 32-hectare regional government compound in Cotabato City was witnessed by journalists and senior provincial officials of the department. (JOHN UNSON)
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