SOURCE: Press and Public Affairs Bureau
The House of Representatives approved on 2nd reading the proposed “Graduation Legacy for the Environment Act" requiring all graduating elementary, high school, and college students to plant at least 10 trees as a prerequisite for graduation, which shall be their living legacy to the environment and to future generations of Filipinos.
House Bill 8728, principally authored by Rep. Gary Alejano (Party-list, MAGDALO), declares that the State shall pursue programs and projects that promote environment protection, biodiversity, climate change mitigation, poverty reduction, and food security.
Therefore, the educational system shall be utilized as an avenue for propagating ethical and sustainable use of natural resources among the youth to ensure the cultivation of a socially-responsible and conscious citizenry.
The measure provides that these trees shall be planted in any of the following areas: (a) forest lands, (b) mangrove and protected areas, (c) ancestral domains, (d) civil and military reservations, (e) urban areas under the greening plan of the local government units, (f) inactive and abandoned mine sites, and (g) other suitable lands.
It was also specified in Section 5 of the proposed Act that the planted species of trees should be appropriate to the location, climate, and topography of the area with preference for the planting of indigenous species.
The bill mandates the Department of Education (DepEd) and the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) to implement the Act, in partnership with the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Department of Agriculture (DA), Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), Department of Budget and Management (DBM), Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), Department of Health (DOH), Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC), Department of National Defense (DND), Department of Science and Technology (DOST), Department of Justice (DOJ), National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NICP), and Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR).
With this, the aforementioned government agencies shall undertake the following functions: (a) nursery establishment; (b) seedling production and site preparation; (c) site identification, (d) monitoring and evaluation; (e) provision of security, transportation, fire protection amenities and medical support; and (f) technical support and extension services.
Other authors of the bill include Deputy Minority Leader Joseph Stephen Paduano, Reps. Strike Revilla (2nd District, Cavite), Noel Villanueva (3rd District, Tarlac), Mark Go (Lone District, Baguio City), and Pablo Ortega (1st District, La Union), among others.| Molie Gonzales