Manila, Philippines — Public schools in the Philippines will plant 236,000 trees on Dec. 6 as part of the Department of Education (DepEd)’s Christmas project, according to Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte.
In a Nov. 17 memorandum, Duterte said that 47,678 public schools would be in asynchronous mode for the tree-planting activity, in which one school would plant at least five trees.
Duterte said the trees should be planted within school grounds but if space is scarce, schools may find alternatives in local parks, marine protected areas or any open space near schools.
“The project provides a unique educational opportunity for students to actively participate in tree planting activities, fostering a deeper understanding of environmental issues and promoting conservation efforts. Through hands-on learning and practical application of environmental concepts, students will develop a strong sense of responsibility towards the environment,” the memorandum read.
To implement the project, Duterte ordered all DepEd regional offices to coordinate with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to acquire seedlings for each school in their region.
She said the seedlings must be fruit-bearing, Philippine native trees or mangroves for schools within coastal areas.
If the regional DENR office cannot provide seedlings, schools may use seedlings from their nurseries or request from the local government.
Duterte noted that participants should be not more than 10 teachers and not more than 20 students.
For post-care measures of planted trees, Duterte ordered principals to ensure proper care of trees.
“Regular inspections by the school officials shall be done in order to assess the condition of the trees, identifying any potential risks or diseases, and promptly addressing them. The growth of the seedlings should likewise be monitored to ensure the health, growth, and sustainability of the trees under the school’s care,” the memorandum added.
Duterte earlier vowed to help the Marcos administration reach its goals under the National Greening Program (NGP), an endeavor that seeks to rejuvenate the ecosystem of communities in the country.
The NGP aims to reforest one to two million hectares of land before Marcos’ term ends in 2028.