Press Release
June 23, 2012

Legarda Partners with DepED for 'Best School Forest Park'

Senator Loren Legarda today announced that the Department of Education (DepED), in partnership with Luntiang Pilipinas, will soon select the winners for the "Best School Forest Park" Program.

Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Climate Change and founder of Luntiang Pilipinas, said that by July, the DepEd shall issue to its regional offices a memorandum on the program, which will be participated by public high schools nationwide.

"I am glad that the DepEd is an untiring ally in efforts for environmental conservation, delivering our message of a greener Philippines to the classrooms and beyond," she remarked.

"The wanton destruction of forests is caused by the people's seeming lack of concern, and which is now causing harm to the population. Education, therefore, is one of the ways to ensure that our remaining forests are not destroyed and the damaged ones are rehabilitated," she added.

Legarda explained that the selection of the regional winners and a national winner shall be in August and October, respectively. The winner of "Best School Forest Park" will be chosen by evaluation teams and the winning schools in the regions will be awarded equipment for computer laboratories and the national winner will receive funding for the construction of new classrooms.

Aside from establishing the Luntiang Pilipinas, which has planted two million trees in more than 500 hectares across the country ,Legarda's efforts for environmental conservation include co-authoring the Republic Act 9512 or the National Environmental Awareness and Education Act of 2008.

The law seeks to integrate the environmental education in school curricula at all levels, whether public or private, including in barangay daycare, pre-school, non formal, technical vocational, professional level, indigenous learning and out of school youth courses or programs.

"The Best School Forest Park program is a very good opportunity to engage a younger audience in environmental protection. Trees are essential and crucial to our survival, especially during these times when inundation, flood, drought and pollution have alternately caused harm and danger to our communities. We must take full advantage of this opportunity to educate schoolchildren nationwide about the importance of trees, and in doing so inculcate in them the love for our environment," Legarda concluded.

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