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Lapus Orders Tree-Planting in Schools
Secretary Jesli A. Lapus recently signed DepED Order No. 33, s. 2008 mandating all public and private schools throughout the country to annually embark on massive, intensive and sustained tree-planting, tree-growing and tree-caring activities in their respective schools and communities throughout the school year.
"This is DepED’s response to the threats of climate change and global warming. We join the international community in mustering sufficient and concerted efforts to arrest the continuous decline of our environment. And this is how we know best – plant, grow and care for trees,” explains Secretary Lapus.
Trees, according to the DepED issuance, serve as the lungs of our planet. They help reduce global warming by sequestering million tons of carbon per year, apart from the usual benefits they provide.
The program emphasizes the planting, growing and caring of endemic/native species of trees such as Narra, Molave, Philippine Teak, Acacia, Kamagong, Lawaan and other fruit-bearing trees in vacant spaces inside or outside the school campus. Schools throughout the country are likewise directed to implement projects and activities like establishment of mini-forests and school nurseries, the conduct of fora, symposia and other educational gatherings to intensify this campaign, among others.
Lapus also prohibited the cutting of trees in schools. He instead urged school administrators to be hands-on in the program and establish linkages and partnerships with stakeholders such as the Local Government Units, DENR and other organizations for sustainability.
According to Secretary Lapus, part of DepED’s commitment in properly educating the youth is to infuse in them significant values such as caring for the environment. This is why he is specifically involving youth-led organizations in schools through the Supreme Student Government, Supreme Pupil Government, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Youth for Environment in Schools-Organization (YES-O) and other school-recognized clubs and organizations to lead the tree-planting, tree-growing and tree-caring activities as part of their civic duty to the country.
The Office of Undersecretary for Regional Operations thru the Center for Students and Co-Curricular Affairs led by Executive Director Joey G. Pelaez is in-charge of operationalizing, supervising and monitoring the program.