DAVAO CITY: The Philippines on Friday broke the world record for the most number of trees planted in one hour, with a partial tally surpassing two million against the 1.9 million trees record held by India.
The Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA), the lead government agency behind the “Treevolution Regreening Mindanao” campaign, said the number of trees confirmed planted has reached 2,088,069 as of 3 p.m.
The number, however, still needs to be validated by the Guinness World Record.
The campaign targeted to plant 4.6 million trees across six regions in Mindanao. It would take about two months before Guinness would confirm if India’s record was broken.
“Counting is still ongoing!,” said the Mindanao Treevolution Campaign secretariat on Facebook. “Congratulations Mindanawons! Indeed, for the environment, we are MindanaONE.”
Lualhati Antonino, chairperson of MinDA, said the campaign turned out to be a source of unity among Mindanawons. The campaign, she said, turned out to be a unifying factor among the people in the Mindanao.
“With or without a record to beat, this is something that has awaken us to do something beautiful for Mindanao and for ourselves,” said Antonino.
Antonino said the campaign—whether it will break world record —broke people’s apathy in the face of the call to protect the environment against the impact of changing climate.
“The flooding that we experienced made us realize the extent of the destruction of the environment,” she said, adding that “now it is payback time. Let us bring back what we took away from mother nature. “
Antonino said local government units will be tasked to monitor the areas where the seedlings were planted.
Friday’s ‘tree-growing’ event held from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. gathered people from all walks of life and ages—a first grader student, a 70-year-old farmer, professionals, government officials, non-government organization workers, environmentalists, leaders and workers from various churches.
In Davao City, the sites were in Marilog District and Paquibato District. Some of the students who participated had to travel for eight hours to reach the planting area.
“That we are gathered here today is something that could help us in our campaign to regreen Mindanao,” said Antonino. “It’s another thing that children are with us now—it shows that they are aware of the importance of taking care of the environment.”
Planted were not only forest species but also fruit-trees, including cacao.
In Barangay Baluran in Tungawan in Zamboanga Sibugay, residents planted more than 20, 000 mangrove propagules along the shoreline of the coastal village.
In Butuan, the planted trees included Mahogany.
Department of Agriculture Usec. Demetrio Ignacio expressed hopes that Mindanao communities will take good care of the planted trees.
“The trees are undert the contract of Mindanao now,” he told journalists in this city, adding that Mindanao communities must realize that it is them who will benefit from the impact of the program.
Antonino said she hopes that the tree-growing event will not be the end of the campaign.
“We hope that our passion to protect and revive our mountains will not end today,” she said.