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ROUGH CUTS | 2 million seedlings and dev’t aggression




AT the outset, we would like to apologize to our regular readers for having missed this space yesterday.

We had just to attend to some urgent concerns the other morning that when we were through we realized that even if we were to write our column, we would already miss the deadline. So, we just opted to skip the day.


Our routine early morning chores daily in this time that we are under the pandemic regime include the following: Feed the somehow domesticated wild birds frequenting our yard, feed our pet love birds, then proceed to spread food in the pond where we are raising a number of “koi” fish.

The birds and the fishes actually free us of any stress that lingers in our system after a night’s sleep. After the chores were done, that would be the time we take our breakfast. The same routine happened yesterday morning.

But quite differently, we ended up having some vacant time after since all the other house jobs were already done by the wife. So we decided to open the television to check if there were local news broadcasts.

Unfortunately, we were not informed by our wife that the television antenna for the set inside our room is already defective and it could only get one channel – GMA 7. The unit in our living room which is connected via satellite has its broadcast emanate from the central headquarters based ln Metro Manila.

And since we were interested in local developments we had to open the television set in our room. We did not know if it was accidental that at the very time we tuned in the Mindanao-wide program “At Home with GMA” was starting to air. And the topics about to be discussed caught our interest including the opening trivia segment.

The trivia was some kind of information that Mindnaoans deserve to know and be proud about. ”Mindanao holds the Guinness record of the most number of trees planted in a single day.”

Wow! The other issues that were about to be tackled were the one on helping the environment and the economy by proper disposal of recyclable waste; and the importance of one’s awareness of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus or HIV and how to prevent it from infecting individuals as well as dealing with it once the infection is discovered. Co-discussants with the two youthful anchors were resource persons who are currently engaged in the advocacy of the causes.

We found their discussions very convincing even as they were extensive despite the very minimal period allocated for the treatment of the issues. The anchors raised relevant questions all of which were answered in the most understandable manner by the resource persons. The latter discussants know whereof they speak. They were fully engaged working on the very issue they were espousing individually.

Yet, the anchors and the resource persons were all young. Yes, even if their looks and their age may not cast them as having full authority to discuss the issue with credibility, and we saw them accomplish their job with flying colors with the depths in their questions and answers. But what else should be expected from them?

They definitely have a good grasp of their topics. The way the discussants handled their subjects made them appear much older than their age. Congratulations to the producers of the show and the choice of anchors as well as resource persons.

Meanwhile, we have to admit that we were elated with the information that Mindanao has the distinction of holding the Guinness record of having had more than 2 million trees planted in just one day. But still, our happiness is not complete with that particular news.

Planting the seedlings of trees totaling over two million in just one day is too far different from having more than 2 million grown-up trees counted surviving even if the counting is for a month and not on a single day.
Yes, the question is: How will these seedlings be made to survive until they become fully grown trees? Of course, we have to acknowledge that the government has a continuing program of planting more trees to replace the ones gone due to logging – legal and illegal –and slash and burn farming. This effort is aimed at restoring the environment to its once ideal state. But what is wanting is a program of ensuring that the planted seedlings grow to become a new forest?

Indeed, in just one day, Mindanao becomes host to some two million seedlings planted on its bosom. But how long will these seedlings remain alive when the forest destroyers are still around salivating while waiting for these seedlings to grow a little more and become usable for charcoal-making purposes. Or, how many upland residents see the seedlings growing as threats to the productivity of the cash crops they are planting regularly?

Then we have the favorite subject of environmentalist groups – development aggression. How are we going to stop the rapid urbanization of the uplands given the limited space available for development in the lowlands these days?

The country’s population which is rising by leaps and bounce is now forcing residential and commercial subdivision developers to train their sights on the uplands and its peripheries for future expansion. Now, if some of the 2 million tree seedlings are planted in the areas within the radar of development aggression, then it’s goodbye to them.

We believe that it is here that government planners will have to come up with a scheme where development has to be balanced with the sustenance of a well-planned ecology. Anything less than this is a foreboding disaster, environmentally and economically.

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