CamSur beats India, breaks world record in tree planting

64,096 trees vs India’s 50,033

PILI, Camarines Sur –  CamSur has done it!

Tree planting operations conducted under the El Verde Movement conceptualized and launched by Governor LRay Villafuerte did not only hit its target to plant  575,000 trees within one hour provincewide but also set a new world record for most number of trees planted simultaneously.

At about 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 23 in the presence of Seyda Subasi Gemici, adjudicator of the Guinness Book of World Records, who flew in from Turkey to witness and validate the activity, residents of Siruma complemented by volunteers from neighboring town Tinambac took to the field to plant trees at a provincial lot in Siruma town.

A total of 64,096 trees were planted – a new world record for planting trees simultaneously within one hour eclipsing the feat by India where 9,313 people planted 50,033 trees in Oct. 10, 2010.

Moreover, the world record-setting planting exploit in CamSur was accomplished by only 6,893 people completing the task in just 15 minutes.

The El Verde Movement is a massive multi-faceted greening program initiated by Governor Villafuerte targeted to plant at least 12 million trees in the province by 2012.

The movement also has a livelihood component whereby families residing in the vicinity of the areas planted may enter into a service contract with the provincial government to maintain the new plants especially for the first two years ,which will be vital for survival of the young trees.

For maintaining their respective areas, participating families will be compensated with food packs and may plant cash crops therein.  Elementary and secondary-age members of the participating families may also avail of up to 50 to 100 percent scholarship assistance.

These maintenance service arrangements would assure a good survival rate for the planted trees. Villafuerte expects the survival rates to be as much as 80 to 85 percent.

President Benigno Simeon Aquino III who was in the province Tuesday, Feb. 22 to formally launch the movement in a ceremony held at Barangay Santo Niño of capital town Pili, was all praise for the project, which is in fact a big step ahead of a greening program launched by the national government per recently issued Executive Order No. 23 that is  barely in the initial stages.

El Verde is the biggest local initiative towards the implementation of the program of the national government to protect the environment, the President commented.

More than just a reforestation project to help contribute to the drive to neutralize the effects of global warming and climate change and enhance local watershed, El Verde will include the establishment of special zones and protected areas that will also help in the preservation and protection of wildlife, lakeshore and riverside protection to prevent erosion and siltation, mangrove enhancement, beach protection measures as well as urban greening.

The resultant show of unity and cooperation in implementing El Verde was an unprecedented show of unity among the people that involved virtually all agencies, business entities, socio civic groups and the academe and a strong statement to the world that if CamSur can do it, so can other local government units, according to  Villafuerte.

“It is not just setting a record, but the great sense of fulfilment in being the first to do it”, he added.

Even as adjudicator Gemici has just announced El Verde’s successfully breaking India’s record at a press conference at the Villa del Rey in the afternoon of Feb. 23, Villafuerte who is never an innovator to rest on his laurels was already contemplating grander future planting activities with the thought of surpassing the record set in Siruma next year, even asking Gemici if there is a Guinness world-record setting category for the most number of trees planted in one minute.

Ever the big dreamer, “Hindi naman masamang managinip, di ba?” Villafuerte also declared he will double in the next three years whatever he accomplished in the past six years as provincial executive.

The governor hinted very soon he will be launching a revolutionary agricultural movement even bigger than El Verde as well as several environment-oriented programs he proposes to accomplish through public-private partnerships.

Negotiations with multinational companies are now in the advanced stages for non-conventional power production that includes an 11-megawatt solar power generation venture, a 35-megawatt bio-mass facility and another 35-megawatt wind-powered electricity production project. – GBClaveria

SM Joins EL Verde

Joining the call to save the environment, SM was among the thousands who took part in the simultaneous planting of 12 M trees during the recent launch of the El Verde movement, Camarines Sur’s tree-planting campaign at Barangay Sto. Nino, Ocampo, one of the sites of the project. Over the years, SM has rolled out various environmental programs and projects focused on waste management, water conservation, air quality and energy efficiency. Among its famous programs regularly done as well in SM Naga are the “Trash to Cash”, a recycling market which happens every first Friday and Saturday of the month, the Green Film Festival which invites students to view environmental films for free every third Monday and Tuesday of the month and many others.