By Priam F. Nepomuceno
MANILA, Dec. 7 (PNA) — In line with its environmental protection missions, the Civil Relations Services of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (CRSAFP) conducted on Monday the soft-launching of its "Race to 1,000,000 Seedlings" project.
The activity took place at the Climate Change Summit at the AFP Theater in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City.
CRSAFP head Brig. Gen. Joselito Kakilala said the “Race to 1,000,000 Seedlings” will be formally launched in January 2016.
Lt. Col. Marlowe Patria, 7th Civil Relations Group commander, said the AFP will act as lead convenor to encourage people to participate in the creation of one million seedlings that would be planted in available spots around the National Capital Region (NCR).
The project also aims to instill in the minds of participants that they are making a difference with every seedling they plant and grow.
Patria said this is the most important objective of the project since it seeks the result of turning every participant into an advocate of environmental protection and preservation.
“We want the advocacy to start from every home where the awareness for us to mitigate the effects of climate change will be instilled not only on the elders but more importantly on the youngsters who shall carry on the advocacy to future generations,” Kakilala said.
“We would like to make the participants remember every time they pot a seed or plant a seedling that everyone should pitch in what they can in helping preserve our environment,” he stressed.​
Kakilala said the NCR was chosen as the target area of the project since it is the region which experiences most pollution in the Philippines owing to its large volume of vehicles which emit huge amounts of pollutants every day.
“This project also aims for participants to make it a habit to always save the seeds of fruits they eat. We look forward to a future when every resident living in NCR would always plant the seeds of the fruits they eat and reusing plastic bags as polybags,” he said.
As this developed, Patria explained that the project will involve encouraging individuals to take part in creating seedlings from fruit seeds in their homes in a span of six months.
He said the project will employ the use of social media, particularly Facebook, in spreading the word and gathering participants who would share their experiences through videos and photographs.
After six months, when a million seedlings are already created by participants in their homes or gathered in Camp Aguinaldo, the participants and stakeholders will proceed to plant these seedlings in vacant lots or areas specified by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
From the sixth month onward, the project will then shift to monitoring of the planted seedlings to ensure that there will be one million live trees added to NCR’s already thinning tree cover.
The six months of the project, referred to as the first phase, will last until July of 2016. The next six months after that, referred to as the second phase, will be used for tree planting and growing.
Kakilala said the AFP has already tapped partners and stakeholders, including the DENR and other government agencies, to ensure the success of the project. Among partners tapped for the project are Rappler, Teach Peace Build Peace Organization, HERO Foundation, Assumption School, Smart Telecommunications, Sagip Kalikasan Foundation, Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP) and many others.
To represent the participation of the Filipino youth, Dingdong Dantes, National Youth Commissioner graced the event.
His presence signified the full support of the youth through the #nowPH campaign which also seeks to spread awareness on climate change.​ (PNA)