Marcos made this remark during a nationwide simultaneous tree planting activity on his 65th birthday celebration.
“Itong ating ginagawa nitong araw na ito ay isa sa mga hakbang na maaari nating gawin upang tulungan at patibayin ang ating kalikasan. Alagaan ang ating kalikasan para ay tayo naman ay mayroon tayong ipamamana sa mga anak natin sa mga susunod sa atin na mga Pilipino,” Marcos said during the National Simultaneous Bamboo and Tree Planting and Kickoff Ceremony at the Old San Mateo Sanitary Landfill in Rizal.
“We have to do this as a concrete step that we take so that nature is cared for because it desperately needs that care and it desperately needs that attention,” he stressed, adding that the nationwide activity is simple yet impactful.
The President said he opted to spearhead the tree planting event on his birthday to raise awareness about protecting the environment, which he stressed is a very important national and global issue today.
He expressed gratitude to the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Department of Agriculture (DA), and various civil society non-government organizations for collaborating to make the event possible.
“This initiative will greatly help in raising awareness on environmental welfare and protection. Let me also thank na nandito ngayon upang tumulong dito sa event na ito upang maipakita natin sa taong-bayan na tayo naman ay lagi nating iniisip ang ating kalikasan hindi lamang sa iba’t ibang lugar kung hindi sa buong Pilipinas,” he pointed out.
“At the same time, it will contribute to the DENR’s National Greening Program, the country’s most ambitious reforestation program, with the goal of reducing poverty, ensuring food security, environmental stability, conserving biodiversity, and mitigating climate change, and adapting to climate change,” he continued.
Through the program, more than two million hectares of reforestation sites were established from 2011 to 2021.
An additional 46,265 hectares will be developed this year, and the DENR is also targeting 11,631 hectares of enhanced National Greening Program sites in 2023.
The seedlings that were planted during Tuesday’s event will be significant in realizing the government’s reforestation goal, as the program generates jobs, opportunities, as well as livelihood for ordinary Filipinos, the President said.
More than the economic benefit of the activity, he said the country is essentially and primarily investing in ensuring that the planet remains a safe space, especially for the next generation that will inherit it.
The President also said he sees some symbolism in the tree planting activity as the government turns an old sanitary landfill into a reforestation area that benefits the environment and the local community.
“In a way the symbolism is extended, dahil ang ating ginagawa ngayon ay – sa nangyari sa pandemya, sa marami, sa daming problemang na hinaharap ng ekonomiya ng Pilipinas ay parang ito ngayon ay natulog na at hindi na magamit,” he said.
“Ngayon po, itong ganitong gagawin din natin sa ekonomiya, mula sa natutulog at hindi nagagamit na iba’t ibang bagay ay bubuhayin natin ulit. Kagaya ng pagbubuhay natin sa ating mga itatanim na mga puno ngayong araw na ito.”
Also present were Interior and Local Government Secretary Benjamin D. Abalos Jr. and Environment Secretary Ma. Antonia Yulo-Loyzaga.