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Luntiang Pilipinas bet highlights forestry reduction problem.

By Ellson Quismorio

Filipinos must do something drastic to address the worrisome annual reduction in local forest cover, says Luntiang Pilipinas Party-list first nominee Michael Lim Ubac.

"We lose around 47,000 hectares of forest cover each year, and if we do not do anything to reverse this trend, these losses will have tragic consequences for our country's biodiversity, water security, and disaster prevention efforts," Ubac, a veteran journalist, stressed.

The University of the Philippines and Harvard University alumnus explained that "today we only have less than a third of the forest cover we had at the turn of the 20th century."

"From 21 million hectares of forests in 1900, we are now left with less than seven million hectares of forests. This cannot be allowed to be left unchecked. Only by working together, by rallying Filipinos and our leaders to this cause, will we be able to reverse the tide," added the House of Representatives Party-List candidate.

Ubac made these statements in the formal launch of the Luntiang Pilipinas's effort to plant 10 million trees in the Philippines as part of a nationwide re-greening effort that would help improve the country's environment.

The launch took place Monday in Calamba, Laguna with Senate President Vicente Sotto III and re-electionist Senators Juan Edgardo "Sonny" Angara, Paolo Benigno "Bam" Aquino, and Nancy Binay in attendance.

"Our objective is not just to win a seat in Congress so we can fight for the cause of the environment; our rallying call is also this: make the Philippines green again!" Ubac further said.

Founded in 1998 by environmental advocate Senator Loren Legarda, Luntiang Pilipinas is responsible for planting and growing two million trees in 33 provinces, 28 cities, and 84 municipalities across the country.

Legarda, who herself is running for a seat as Antique representative in next week's midterm polls, said the 10-million tree-planting project is achievable.

"The 10-million trees challenge should be easy for us because if each Filipino does his or her share, we would have a hundred million trees and thousands of thriving forest parks in our country," she said.

The launching of the campaign coincided with several activities, such as a Luntian Green Rider bike ride from Batangas City to Laguna, a rally endorsing the "10 million trees challenge" and a tree-planting activity at the Calamba City Hall grounds.

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Title Annotation:National
Publication:Manila Bulletin
Geographic Code:9PHIL
Date:May 8, 2019
Words:397
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