Dubbed the “Graduation Legacy for the Environment Act,” House Bill 8728 aims to require all graduating elementary, high school, and college students to plant at least 10 trees as a prerequisite for graduation. The bill provides that said trees should be planted in any of the following areas: forest lands, mangrove and protected areas, ancestral domains, civil and military reservations, urban areas under the greening plan of the local government units, inactive and abandoned mine sites, and other suitable lands.
SMART WAY TO PLANT 175 MILLION TREES EVERY YEAR: GET YOUNG PEOPLE TO DO IT FOR SCHOOL
House Bill 8728, or the “Graduation Legacy for the Environment Act,” is principally authored by MAGDALO Party-list Rep. Gary Alejano and Cavite 2nd District Representative Strike Revilla.
“With over 12 million students graduating from elementary and nearly five million students graduating from high school and almost 500,000 graduating from college each year, this initiative, if properly implemented, will ensure that at least 175 million new trees would be planted each year. In the course of one generation, no less than 525 billion can be planted under this initiative,” Alejano explained in the bill’s explanatory note.
“Even with a survival rate of only 10 percent, this would mean an additional 525 million trees would be available for the youth to enjoy, when they assume the mantle of leadership in the future.”
The trees will be planted in forest lands, mangrove and protected areas, ancestral domains, civil and military reservations, urban areas under the greening plan of the local government units, inactive and abandoned mine sites, and other suitable lands. These planted trees must be appropriate to the location, climate and topography of the area, and there will be a preference for the planting of indigenous tree species.
Under the bill, the Department of Education and the Commission on Higher Education will be the implementing bodies, in partnership with the Department of Environmental and Natural Resources (DENR), Department of Agriculture, Department of Agrarian Reform, and the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples and other government agencies.
These agencies will be responsible for nursery establishment, seedling production and site preparation, monitoring and evaluation, and technical support and extension services. They must also provide security, transportation, fire protection amenities, and medical support.