Senator Cynthia Villar has introduced Senate Bill 2228, which proposes a new law requiring graduating students to plant trees as part of their civic duty to protect and preserve the environment.
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This initiative aims to cultivate an environmentally conscious mindset among young citizens while significantly contributing to reforestation efforts. The new law requires graduating high school and college students to plant trees at least two trees.
In her explanatory note, Senator Villar emphasized that forests play a vital role in shielding against natural disasters, ensuring water and food security, supporting diverse ecosystems, and preserving indigenous traditions. However, the country’s forest cover is rapidly declining, with an annual loss of approximately 47,000 hectares, as the Forest Management Bureau reported.
Restoring the forest cover is crucial not only for maintaining environmental integrity but also for the survival and sustainability of the nation. Senator Villar stressed the urgency of taking action, particularly during the UN Decade of Ecological Restoration.
She adamantly asserts that this legislation is crucial to combating climate change and achieving sustainable development.
Furthermore, Senator Villar highlighted that the bill would instill sense of responsibility in the youth and encourage their active engagement in environmental and sustainability initiatives.
This proposal aligns with House Bill 978, introduced by Representative Mark Go, chairman of the committee on higher and technical education in the House of Representatives, thus providing a comprehensive approach to address these issues.
Philippines Government Takes Extensive Measures for Environmental Conservation
The government of the Philippines has undertaken various efforts to promote environmental conservation and address the challenges of climate change. Here are some of the key initiatives:
Environmental Laws and Policies:
Various laws and policies have been implemented in the Philippines to safeguard the environment. These measures encompass the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Ecological Solid Waste Management Act, and the National Integrated Protected Areas System Act, among other crucial regulations. These laws regulate pollution, promote sustainable waste management, and safeguard biodiversity.
National Greening Program
The government launched the National Greening Program (NGP) in 2011 to plant 1.5 billion trees on 1.5 million hectares of public land by 2016. The NGP aims to rehabilitate degraded forests, mitigate climate change, and promote sustainable livelihoods for communities.
Renewable Energy Development
The Philippines recognizes the importance of transitioning to renewable energy sources. The Renewable Energy Act promotes the development and use of renewable energy technologies like wind, solar, hydro, and geothermal power.
Protected Areas and Biodiversity Conservation
The government has established a network of protected areas, national parks, and wildlife sanctuaries to conserve biodiversity and ecosystems. These areas provide habitat for endangered species and contribute to nature conservation efforts.
Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation
Climate change poses a significant threat to the Philippines, with extreme weather conditions and rising sea levels among the potential impacts. The government has implemented programs to enhance climate change resilience, such as the People’s Survival Fund, which provides funding for climate change adaptation projects at the local level.
The Philippines actively participates in international agreements and initiatives related to environmental conservation and climate change. It is a signatory to the Paris Agreement and has committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The country also collaborates with international organizations and receives support for environmental programs and projects.
Despite these efforts, challenges remain, including illegal logging, mining activities, and inadequate enforcement of environmental laws. The government continues to work towards strengthening ecological governance, raising awareness, and engaging stakeholders to achieve sustainable development and preserve the country’s natural resources.
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