Tree cutting, protesting, and planting
STRAWS IN THE WIND - Eladio C. Dioko (The Freeman) - November 20, 2014 - 12:00am

The opposition displayed by some individuals on the cutting of fully grown trees in Naga City is a healthy sign of people's keen awareness on the importance of trees in the environment. In any areas the more trees there are the more invigorating is the surrounding. Underground water is preserved and flood is a rarity. A bonus thing is the presence of birds especially if there are fruits to pick. And if the trees are of the flowering variety, what beauty there is to behold!

Trees make for healthful living, really. But so does a sports arena. A sports arena does not purify the air as trees do. It does not conserve water nor prevent flood. But it invites peoples to wake up early and do a workout. Exercise-are we not aware that for a healthy life-style exercise is a must? Ball games such as baseball, softball, football, basketball or field events such as athletics, high jump, discus throw, and other competitive events are held in a sports complex. And if there's a swimming pool, of course, swimming contests can be conducted in the complex too.

 Talk of a vibrant and healthful community without a sports complex is mere empty talk.

We can understand therefore why Mayor Chiong of Naga City opted to have some trees (about 58) cut down to give way to the construction of a venue for sports competition. Done with imprimatur from DENR that decision would have remained undisturbed had it not been for the uproar from the so called environmentalists. DepEd, which caused the planting of those trees in the 1980's under the watch of this writer as a school superintendent then, should have joined the protest. Happily, it did not. The reason could be that under the current leadership (Naga City is now a separate school division) the education office is keenly aware of the vital importance of a sports oval as a facility for physical education including playground demonstration, dance festival and other community-wide socio-cultural undertakings.

Hosting a regional palaro is only possible if there's a sports complex in a city or community. And Naga City must have chalked such happening as one of its socio-economic targets in the near future. Thus the current efforts to build a sports venue comparable perhaps to existing ones such as the Cebu City Sports Complex.

Following the request of DENR, Mayor Chiong has committed his office to planting (and growing) some 2,000 hardwood threes. A couple of hundred thousand trees to replace 58 ones is indeed a comfortable bargain. But considering the urgency of revitalizing the eco-system in that city, the authorities as well as the general public ought to embark on a massive tree planting venture not just in the lowland but more importantly in the upland areas.

That city, more than any other places in Cebu, has a crying need for an honest-to-goodness ecology enhancement program. With the operation of a cement factory plus the presence of a number of housing subdivisions, a serious effort is urgently needed to make that place more livable. And that effort should preferably be focused on the planting of more trees. One measure toward this end is to encourage if not require every manufacturing firm therein to operate and maintain a hectare or more of hardwood trees. Another is to involve school teachers and their students to plant and care for mahogany, narra, or other trees in vacant spaces in school sites and other government-owned land. With thousands of students taught on the importance of trees, a lesson they actualize through tree-planting and growing activities, there's no reason why Naga City cannot be a remarkable place for people to live and enjoy in the near future.

When this happens, those who are now protesting the cutting of trees in that city will sing hossanah to the leadership therein.

eladio.dioko@gmail.com

CEBU CEBU CITY SPORTS COMPLEX CITY COMPLEX MAYOR CHIONG MAYOR CHIONG OF NAGA CITY NAGA NAGA CITY PLANTING SPORTS TREES
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