ZAMBOANGA CITY, June 25 –Mayor Celso Lobregat, first district Congresswoman Ma. Isabelle Climaco-Salazar and second district Congressman Erico Basilio Fabian led Friday the mass tree planting activity in celebration of "Arbor Day na Ciudad de Zamboanga" (Arbor Day in Zamboanga City) here.
Amidst rain showers, the activity kicked off at 7:30 a.m. with a short program at the Cesar C. Climaco Freedom Park open stage, where employees from the city government and national agencies, students, barangay officials and military and police personnel and representatives from the different sectors converged.
In the same program, Lobregat formally declared 14 Acacia trees as century trees and six as heritage trees by virtue of City Ordinance 341, otherwise known as the Century and Heritage Tree Ordinance.
Lobregat said the tree planting activity during Arbor Day was only one of the pro-environment programs undertaken by the city government on a regular basis.
The city government also initiates mangrove reforestation in Barangay Mampang and other areas as part of its commitment to the protection and preservation of the environment.
Salazar and Fabian urged the public to help protect the environment not only during Arbor Day but every day of their lives.
Councilor Abdurahman Nuño, chairman of the Liga ng mga Barangay, said the well attended activity was proof of the communitys concern to the environment.
A total of 2,100 narra, gemelina and fire tree seedlings were planted Thursday in the over two hectare area designated for planting at Cesar C. Climaco Freedom Park.
Members of the City Council such as Luis Biel III, Benjamin Guingona, III, Rodolfo Lim, Rogelio Valesco and Lilia Nuño and councilor-elect Vincent Paul Elago also actively participated in the tree planting activity as well as in the tagging ceremony for the declared century and heritage trees.
Arbor Day na Zamboanga was organized by the Office of the City Environment and Natural Resources (OCENR) under Engr. Rey Gonzales and was based on City Ordinance 281.
Arbor Day is a nationwide activity pursuant to Presidential Proclamation No. 396 which enjoins the active participation of all government agencies, private sector, schools, civil society groups and citizenry in the planting activity, and declares June 25 of every year as Philippine Arbor Day. (PNA) RMA/Teofilo P. Garcia/utb