Tuesday, June 21, 2011

5,000 Heroes for 18 Saturdays

5,000 Heroes for 18 Saturdays
2011 Cebu Hillylands Reforestation Caravan

The Central Cebu Protected Landscape, also known as the Cebu Hillylands, remains Cebu’s treasured ecological birthright. It supplies potable water for Metro Cebu, silently spurring the island’s development forward. It stands as a treasured ecological heritage with a number of Cebu’s endemic species nesting in its coffers. With its rich resources, it continues to sustain the communities depending on it for their survival. 

However, this fragile structure also remains subjected to various man-made interventions hat only led to its degradation. Century-old native and endemic trees have been logged for their high-value timber. Large portions of the forest cover have been cleared for agricultural, residential and industrial purposes to support Metro Cebu’s development. Denudation drained the Cebu Hillylands’ aquifers as they could no longer hold water to sustain Cebu’s demand. In the Buhisan Reservoir, the amount of water has dropped down from 10,000 to 2,000 cubic meters as of 2009.

An adopted reforestation site in sitio Sayaw, a portion of the Cebu Hillylands

With this alarming rate of deforestation and water shortage, efforts to rebuild the Cebu Hillylands were made even more pronounced. This is how PBSP stepped into the picture in 1991 as it launched the Cebu Hillylands Development Program. An integral part of this program is the holding of the Cebu Hillylands Reforestation Caravan, where it enjoins volunteers from business, government, academe and civil society every year to plant tree seedlings in the denuded areas of the hillylands.

Due to PBSP’s efforts for almost two decades, it recently achieved the largest feat in reforestation as it was able to reforest more than 300 hectares with 40 native and endemic tree species with help from 3,700 volunteers from 100 companies.

Employee volunteers/planters from the 2011 Cebu Hillylands Reforestation Caravan

Moving forward. On June 18, more than 800 volunteers from various institutions planted 15,000 seedlings in sitio Cantipla 2 for the 2011 run of the reforestation caravan. Aside from planting tree seedlings, volunteers also took part in various breakout sessions to promote environmental education awareness. 

PBSP invited Lisa Pagbuntalan and Orlyn Orlanes-Roxas from Philippine Biodiversity Conservation Foundation, Inc. to discuss on the unique biodiversity of the Cebu Hillylands as well as the components of Cebu’s forests. 

Nilo Arribas, Jr., Godfrey Jakosalem, Dr. Clemn Macasiano and Marester Macasiano of Cebu Ornithological Society were also invited, who held an exhibit on wildlife photography and discussed the mechanics of bird watching.

PBSP aso aims to make this year's caravan more proactive by increasing its targeted participation of agencies, companies and individuals to 5,000.

 A representative from the Philippine Air Force tries to identify the endemic species and subspecies featured in the frames.

Companies and institutions who joined the kickoff include the Philippine Institute of  Certified Public Accountants, Dedon Cebu Manufacturing Corp., PLDT Co., TMX Philippines, Inc., The Islands Group, HPOI Corp., Fooda Saversmart Corp., SMART Communications, Inc., Lexmark Research & Development Corp., Cebu Ornithological Society, Lexmark International Philippines, Inc. and Philippine Guardians, Inc., Qualfon Philippines, Inc., the Philippine Air Force and Cebu Daily News.

For the following Saturdays, Yamashin Cebu Filter Manufacturing Corp., Cathay Pacific Airways, Juanito King & Sons, Aboitiz & Co., Inc., Lexmark Research & Development Corp., Taiyo Yuden Philippines, Inc., Lexmark International Philippines, Inc. and Abag sa Kalikupan, Inc. already committed to involve their employees to plant.

For more photos of the event, click on the following icons: