August 31, 2023 Thursday
The Climate Change Commission conducts a tree-planting activity in Lucban, Quezon, in partnership with the Southern Luzon State University
LUCBAN, QUEZON, 31 August 2023 – The Climate Change Commission (CCC), together with the Southern Luzon State University (SLSU), conducted a tree-planting activity as part of the agency’s thrust to engage state universities and colleges (SUCs) in addressing climate change through nature-based solutions.
Secretary Robert E.A. Borje, the CCC’s Vice Chairperson and Executive Director, expressed his gratitude to the Southern Luzon State University, particularly to SLSU President Dr. Doracie Nantes, who was likewise present, for organizing the tree-planting activity.
“Reforestation is vital to our goal of sequestering greenhouse gases that will enable us to maintain our threshold of 1.5 degrees. We need to make use of every opportunity there is to plant and grow trees. The CCC is grateful to Dr. Nantes and the SLSU for allowing us the opportunity to plant these valuable white Lauan seedlings and supporting the CCC’s Net Zero Challenge,” Borje said.
The CCC planted 30 white Lauan seedlings at the foot of Mt. Banahaw in Lucban, Quezon. This species is endemic to the Philippines, and while it contributes to carbon dioxide absorption, the white Lauan is being threatened by illegal logging activities and habitat destruction.
“A 35-year-old white Lauan tree can sequester up to 386 kilograms of carbon dioxide annually. The Shorea concorta, or the white Lauan, has higher carbon sequestration potential than most other species,” explained Dr. Francisco Beltran, a professor at the College of Agriculture at SLSU.
Net Zero Challenge
Prior to the tree-planting activity, the CCC recently launched its Net Zero Challenge (NZC), the agency’s carbon offsetting program, at the Caliraya-Lumot Watershed, where 625 Narra and Molave seedlings were planted.
The concept of "net zero" emphasizes the need to offset carbon emissions through initiatives that absorb and reduce these emissions. With the NZC, the CCC invites all individuals, communities, and sectors to unite and do collective action—a commitment that President Ferdinand Romualdez Marcos Jr. has emphasized in recent statements, particularly in the State of the Nation Address.
"When we approach climate change, we must understand it simply not as a problem, but rather a challenge for which we, human beings, have the solutions. However, individual actions alone will not suffice. We must pursue collective action, and the organizations and institutions will serve as the catalyst for this action—hence, the launch of this collaborative program," Borje expressed.
The NZC is designed to harness the collaborative power of community partners, exemplified by the collaboration with the Paete Sagip Sigla Palay Farmers Association, Inc. This approach ensures that communities are given meaningful roles as partners, reaping equal benefits and shared responsibilities.
The Embassies of Qatar and the United Arab Emirates to the Philippines, National Power Corporation, Local Government of Paete, Laguna, Department of Agriculture-Laguna, Philippine National Volunteer Service Coordinating Agency, Philippine Information Agency IV-A, Philippine Red Cross Laguna Chapter, Professional Regulation Commission, University of the Philippines Resilience Institute, Laguna Wind Corporation, Nestle Philippines, Manila Observatory, Society of Filipino Foresters, Inc., Katoto Project, Green Convergence, and Net Zero Carbon Alliance participated in the NZC launch event.
The CCC lauded the passage of House Bill (HB) 8568, which seeks to amend various sections of Republic Act (RA) 10176 or the Arbor Day Act.
The revised Section 2 of RA 10176, as proposed by HB 8568, states that “there is a need for a corroborated effort between the State and its citizenry to combat the loss of our natural resources and rejuvenate our environment by rehabilitating degraded forest land areas, improving soil fertility and land productivity, and reducing soil erosion especially in the rural and upland areas, undertaking nationwide tree-planting activities and providing effective measures for their maintenance and sustainability."
Borje emphasized the key roles of the government, private sector, academe, civil society, non-government organizations and international organizations to further strengthen collaboration, foster innovative and sustainable solutions and exhibit cross-sectoral and cross-national accountability.
“Our collective resolve will allow us to do more to save lives and protect the livelihoods of the present and future generations,” Borje said.
From February 2022, the CCC has engaged various stakeholders in a total of eight tree-planting and growing activities that express a whole-of-government and whole-of-society approach in addressing climate change.
For more information on the CCC’s climate mainstreaming activities, visit https://climate.gov.ph and www.facebook.com/CCCPHL.