The Municipality of Socorro in Oriental Mindoro conducted a municipal-wide tree planting drive to help prevent flash floods during the rainy season.
Two people drowned in the area when the Subaan River overflowed during the height of Typhoon Nina (international name Nock-ten) in 2016.
The locals told environmental group Haribon Foundation that the two men who perished from the flash flood were collecting floating logs along the rushing waters when the fatality occurred.
“The trees we planted will act as a barrier against water coming from the river and the mountains,” said the locals.
Over 400 tree seedlings were planted along the village streets and near Naujan Lake, the fifth largest lake in the Philippines and an important habitat of migratory birds. Among native seedlings planted were narra, bangkal, potat, hanadyong, allem and amogis.
“We plant native trees because they are more stable and resilient to withstand the effects of climate change,” said Thaddeus Martinez, forester from the Haribon Foundation.
Socorro’s reforestation activity was also part of the Pakapya-Agtike Festival or a celebration of gratitude for the year’s bountiful produce. The festival was observed in honor of the town’s patron saint, The Holy Family.
“We plan that this [tree planting]becomes a yearly activity to help the environment, combat climate change, save the nearby lake and preserve the trees,” said Manuel Delica, the municipal planning development officer of Socorro.
“Tree planting activities make the community aware of their role in protecting nature. We expect that this experience will help them make smart decisions for the environment,” he added.
The municipal-wide tree planting activity was joined by the local government, people’s organizations, beneficiaries of the government’s 4P program, senior citizens, students and Haribon’s biodiversity fellows.
Haribon’s Biodiversity Fellows Program is made possible with funding and support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).