SUBIC BAY FREEPORT - Volunteer groups and workers in this free port joined the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) in a tree-planting activity here in celebration of Arbor Day onThursday.
More than 500 SBMA employees, workers from Freeport companies, and volunteers from various civic organizations in Olongapo City planted around 1,500 saplings of different tree species at the reforestation site in Mount Santa Rita.
Forester Patrick Escusa, head of the SBMA Ecology Center’s Social Development Division, which coordinated the event, said the participants included delegates from the Community Environment and Natural Resources Office of Olongapo City, the Philippine Coast Guard Auxiliary111th Squadron in Hermosa, Bataan, the Department of Public Works and Highways, and the Philippine National Police offices in Olongapo and Hermosa.
SBMA Chairman Roberto Garcia said the project is part of the agency’s environmental preservation and conservation advocacy program under Republic Act 10716, which revived the observance of Arbor Dayin 2012 and authorized government units to observe the annual event with tree-planting activities.
The same law requires all able-bodied citizens, who are at least 12 years of age, to plant at least one tree every year.
“What we’re doing here is taking care of the environment; yet we are also ensuring the sustainability of our future with this activity,” Garcia said. “With the help of stakeholders in the Freeport, the SBMA is committed more than ever to continue with this project and pave a brighter, greener tomorrow for Subic.”
The Arbor Day celebration, which was the first to be held here in the Subic Freeport, kicked off with a simple program in front of the SBMA administration building, then proceeded with an 80-vehicle convoy to the reforestation site in Mount Santa Rita.
SBMA Deputy Administrator for Legal Affairs Randy Escolango, who is also commander of the PCGA 111th Squadron,said that the celebration was successful, considering the high turnout.
“The celebration was a big success. It only manifests that most us still care for the environment and are willing to give time and effort to preserve it,” Escolango said.
Meanwhile, dozens of employees and senior officials of Hitachi Terminals Mechatronics Philippines (HTMP), a Japanese company, which manufactures ATM parts and components, planted 150 mangrove wildlings at the mangrove sanctuary in the Freeport zone.
Catherine Dizon, HTMP assistant manager for administration, said that the activity is part of the firm’s corporate social responsibility program that also aims to promote awareness on environment preservation among the company’s workers.
“While it is harder to plant mangrove than tree saplings, this is a new experience for all of us and our Japanese bosses enjoyed doing this,” Dizon added.
The mangrove-planting activity was led by Hitoshi Ito, HTMP general manager for production; Hiroto Konoke, general manager for administration; Kenji Hattori, department manager for purchasing; and Tokunobu Asami, deputy department manager for engineering. (30)
SBMA employees and workers from locator-companies plant trees at Mount Santa Rita in celebration of Arbor Day in the Subic BayFreeport on Thursday, June 25.