Creating green spaces in Davao City

In pursuit of a greener environment towards development, the Philippine Eagle Foundation (PEF) and the Ayala Land Corporation teamed up for a Carbon Forest Project that aims to bring back the loss of green spaces.

Joining the two groups are some 100 volunteers coming from both the public and private sectors, including students, friends, family, workmates and non-government organizations. The event took place February 16, Saturday, at barangay Bago Gallera in Davao City.

Bago Gallera is being eyed as a potential “wider green space” in the city.

The project’s goal, which started its assessment last year, targets to cover the six-hectare open space with 15,000 trees throughout the year. Wild seedlings or “wildlings”, including bakan, igyo and antipolo, were planted.

One of the PEF officials, who opted not to be named, said that the group is overwhelmingly happy that countless responded to their call, which was posted last month, through their Facebook page. She said that they are still accepting volunteers until March.

The official said that prior to the project, the area used to be a plain abandoned space, which they thought would be suitable for reforestation.

“We started with the forest restoration or ‘rainforestation’, then to the site assessment and profiling, followed by the nursery establishment, and then by land preparation, and right now, the planting stage,” the PEF volunteer said.

She said that challenging part of the project is the monitoring and maintenance stage, wherein volunteers from the PEF are daily monitoring the area, to ensure the crucial growth of these plants.

“Aside from the transplanting, or the transferring of plants from one place to another, we need volunteers, who will do maintenance, including watering the newly planted wildlings, especially now that summer is fast approaching,” she said.

Representatives from the government sector also showed their support towards the activity. Present during the tree planting activity are officials and employees from the Davao Tourism Association (DATA) and the Department of Tourism-11 (DOT-11). Security groups, namely the Task Force Davao (TF Davao), Davao City Police Office (DCPO) and the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) were also full forced in this activity.

Recently appointed DOT-11 director Tanya Rabat-Tan said that the tourism department wants to be involved more in projects and activities that pushes for “sustainable development”

She said that their participation is in line with President Duterte’s call for environmental development, as seen in the recent rehabilitation of the Boracay Island and the Manila Bay.

“We wanted to show our support to the national government’s campaign, by our way of involving ourselves to do simple things such as tree planting,” Rabat-Tan said.

DOT, as the frontline agency in the tourism management and promotion, wanted to stress that protecting the environment by means of creating awareness and action, is one of the priorities to attain a more “sustainable development”.

“This is the kind of partnership we wanted to do. At least we want to do it quarterly,” she said.

DATA president Renato “Gatchi” Gatchalian, who managed to attend the tree planting activity amidst numerous endeavors during that day, strongly believe that sustainable tourism must be embraced.

Gatchalian said that environmental issues are a timely issue that must be given priority.

“We would like to show our commitment to this project,” Gatchi said.

He said, “Aside from the cultural and economic, we should go beyond and explore environmental concerns as part towards a more sustainable tourism.”