Thursday, July 3, 2014

Save a TREE, Save our CounTREE

The following week after I was trained by the Nobel Laureate and former US Vice President Al Gore in the Climate Reality Asia-Pacific training in Melbourne, Australia on June 25-27, 2014, I joined the "Save a TREE, Save our CounTREE Public Forum" on July 3, 2014 at Environmental Studies Institute (ESI), Miriam College organized by the COCAP, where I myself is a volunteer-member. The Concerned Citizens Advocating Philippine Environmental Sustainability (COCAP),formerly known as Concerned Citizens Against Pollution is one of the environmental movements in the Philippines which has a track record in advocating environmental policies such as Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act.

The forum was attended by Hon. Ramon Jesus P. Paje, Secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Hon. Rogelio L. Singson, Secretary of Department of Public Works & Highways, Architect Felino "Jun" Palafox, Jr., Principal Architect/Urban Planner, Founder & Managing Partner at Palafox Associates and Fr Robert Reyes, The Running Priest, Social and Political Activist. TREE is the focus of this forum. Why? Because it has been the focus as well of very many communities in the past several months, as they raise their collective voice in protest against the destruction of these trees along the roads and highways all over these islands. With DPWH plans, with the consent of the DENR, it will cut more trees. 
As concerned citizens, COCAP will not keep quiet and watch helplessly as the cutting continues. The trees are lovely because they not only beautify every place they inhabit, but they also give us oxygen to breathe, food to eat, shade to cool us, water to fill our underground aquifers, protection against air pollution, erosion, flooding, and storm surges and more. A 50-year-old tree recycles Php 1.5 million worth of water, and stops the erosion of Php 1.2 million worth of soil. All the good that a tree provides us should give us a pause, this is why we expect our invited guests to enlighten us on the government policies governing trees and roads on the programs and projects they pursue.