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Tree-planting target impossible to hit

/ 11:50 PM July 23, 2013

Allow me to correct the statement of Neal Cruz in his June 14 column that “We have a National Greening Program (NGP) that aims to plant 1.5 million trees.” The commitment of President Aquino under the NGP (Executive Order No. 26) is to plant 1.5 billion trees within six years (2010 to 2016) of his presidency.

Let me say this is another program of President Aquino that is bound to fail. For the program to succeed the government should plant 250 million trees a year (or 21 million trees a month or 700,000 trees a day). Accordingly, three years into the program and President Aquino’s term the NGP should have planted 750 million trees.

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From statistics released by the NGP only about 300 million trees have thus far been planted. Therefore, by now, there is already a deficit of 450 million trees and if this trend continues, the project will be short of 900 million trees in June 2016. This is simple arithmetic.

Besides, for a seedling to grow into a tree, it cannot simply be planted by volunteers during ceremonial activities or publicity purposes. It should be planted and cared for, for at least three years. Otherwise, the program will fail miserably.

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Now President Aquino has once again announced that the 60,000 squatters residing along waterways will be relocated within the remaining three years of his term. President Aquino should stop making promises he cannot fulfill.

—ROBERTO PANGANIBAN,
Malvar, Batangas

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TAGS: Aquino administration, environment, Government, Letters to the Editor, National Greening Program, NGP, opinion, squatters, tree-planting
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