To graduate in the Philippines, students have to plant 10 trees

A bill requiring students to plant trees as a prerequisite for graduation has been approved by the Philippine House of Representatives on its third and final reading.

“Graduation Legacy for the Environment Act” (House Bill 8728) would require all elementary, high school, and college students to plant 10 trees each before they can graduate.

“To this end, the educational system shall be a locus for propagating ethical and sustainable use of natural resources among the young to ensure the cultivation of a socially-responsible and conscious citizenry,” the House bill, which was authored by Representative Gary Alejano, stated.

Alejano estimated that the bill will be responsible for 525 billion trees planted over the course of one generation. 

The number comes from the 12 million students graduating from elementary school each year, 5 million from high school and 500,000 from college, equaling 175 million new trees planted annually.

The bill provides that trees should be planted in: forests, mangrove and protected areas, ancestral domains, civil and military reservations, urban areas under the greening plan of the local government units, inactive and abandoned mine sites, and other suitable lands.

The trees planted should also match the specific area’s climate and topography. A number of internal agencies within the Philippines government will give assistance in establishing nurseries, seedling production, site identification, monitoring and evaluating and technical help.

The Department of Education and the Commission on Higher Education are mandated by the bill  to implement the Act, in partnership with the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Department of Agriculture, Department of Agrarian Reform, Department of Budget and Management, Department of Interior and Local Government, Department of Health, Department of Transportation and Communications, Department of National Defense, Department of Science and Technology, Department of Justice, National Commission on Indigenous Peoples, and Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation.

Aside from Alejano, the bill was authored by Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano, along with Deputy Minority Leader Joseph Stephen Paduano, Reps. Strike Revilla (2nd District, Cavite), Noel Villanueva (3rd District, Tarlac), Mark Go (Lone District, Baguio City), and Pablo Ortega (1st District, La Union). 

Ritchel Mendiola

Ritchel Mendiola is a staff writer and reporter for the Asian Journal. You can reach her at [email protected].

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