GENERAL TINIO, Nueva Ecija — Some 5,000 narra and mahogany seedlings were planted on Friday at the watershed area of the P787-million Upper Tabuating Irrigation Project (UTIP) during the 8th leg of the launching of the “Three Million Trees in Five Years, Adopt A Mountain” program by the municipal government here.
Spearheaded by Mayor Isidro T. Pajarillaga, the massive tree-planting activity was held in partnership with the National Irrigation Administration-Upper Pampanga River Integrated Irrigation Systems, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, other government agencies, the military, the private sector, and other stakeholders.
Pajarillaga said this united front to reforest a part of the town’s Sierra Madre mountain range has already succeeded in planting over 40,000 se edlings during the first half of the program. During last Friday’s activity, at least 5,000 seedlings were planted by some 800 participants in the tree-planting event, he said.
Engr. Rosalinda B. Bote, NIA-UPRIIS department manager, said the event’s highlight was the forging of a memorandum of agreement to plant three million trees within five years in line with the government’s Sierra Madre Greening program and Mayor Pajarillaga’s advocacy and plan to convert the area into a “Centennial Sanctuary Part 2,” similar to a reforestation showcase project which he started in Bgy. Rio Chico, way back in 2004 when he first won as mayor.
Aside from Pajarillaga, among the signatories to the MOA were the respective heads and representatives of the NIA-UPRIIS, the DENR, the Rotary Clubs of Manila and Makati, and the 7th Infantry Division.
With UPRIIS forging this MOA with the LGU, Engr. Jose Ariel G. Domingo, UPRIIS Division 3 manager said: “We basically adopted ‘Institutionalized Tree Planting’ or ITP (initials of the mayor) as an Agricultural Resolution to save Irrigation from Environmental Loom which stands for Ariel.”
Domingo said it was the project’s 8th tree-planting activity at the watershed area of the UTIP, which commenced last June 14.
He said it was actually part of the agency’s plan to green the Philippines the NIA way in accordance with the directives of NIA Administrator Ricardo R. Visaya, who was represented here by retired general Ralph Villanueva, a former 7th ID commander, now-assigned as NIA management and security consultant for Region 3, UPRIIS and the Balog-Balog project.