Press Release
November 14, 2019

Where are the 1.7 billion trees in 2 M hectares of land funded by P39 B tree program?

Sa ilalim ng proposed 2020 national budget, dodoblehin ang budget for tree planting - mula sa kasalukuyang P2.6 billion to P5.15 billion.

The DENR's National Greening Program is one of the very few programs that will be gifted with almost a 100% budget increase.

Budgets for health, the PGH, college scholarships are like trees being cut by chainsaws. But the one for NGP has assumed the status of a protected species.

But before the Senate approves it, some throwback is needed.

From 2011 to 2019, NGP's total budget is P38.9 billion. I think I shall never see a project as large as the one to plant lovely trees.

Out of this money, the NGP should have planted 1.807 billion trees in 2.141 million hectares of land over the past 9 years ending this December.

Dahil di pa tapos ang 2019, tingnan na lang natin ang planting scoreboard from 2011 to 2018: 1.669 billion of trees planted in 1.998 million hectares of land.

The 1.998 million, or 2 million hectares of land reforested represents 1 in 15 hectares of the total land area of the country. 2 million hectares is 32 times Metro Manila's land area. 2 million hectares is also 4 times the size of Cebu island. If NGP is to be believed, ganito na kalawak ang tinamnan nila ng puno.

After counting the number of trees planted, it is time for the DENR to show us the forest. The carpet of green from sea to shining sea. Ilabas na ang NGP map. The proof of the planting is in the photos. Ipakita sa aerial maps, before and after photos, ang resulta ng isang P38.9 billion project.

Assuming that saplings planted had a mortality rate of 62 percent (which is actual, versus the target 85 percent), the large swaths of successfully reforested lands would still be impressive. The trees may not have yet reached towering heights but they are no longer green shoots that are hard to see.

Sa mga lugar na mababa ang survival rate, dapat din matukoy kung ano ang dahilan kung bakit hindi nabuhay ang mga punong itinanim.

Mayroon bang California-like wildfires? Or death by drowning dahil sa lakas ng ulan? Or did the trees die by mass suicide? Or like climate change, man was responsible?

Tree planting is a climate change resilience measure. It is a program that aims to boost the forest stock of our country so it can absorb carbon dioxide, while providing livelihood and enriching our biodiversity.

What we have been shown so far is a forest of newsprint of reports and vouchers of spending on NGP. Show us the actual greenery.

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