Politicians should be required to plant trees before elections

Politicians in the Philippines should be required to plant trees before they can run for public office. Don't you think it's an excellent idea?


This idea, actually, stemmed from the memorandum of agreement (MOA) signed between the Archdiocese of Jaro and provincial government of Iloilo "requiring couples getting married, families of the departed, as well as parents and guardians of candidates for baptism to plant trees ahead of their desired Catholic rite."

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According to the news website of the Catholics Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), the MOA signing held on April 22 was attended by Msgr. Higinio Velarde, representing Jaro Archbishop Angel Lagdameo, Iloilo governor Arthur Defensor Sr. and regional director Jim Sampulna of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Western Visayas.

The measure was crafted in a bid to reforest lands denuded by Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan). When it struck in 2013, thousands of trees including century-old ones were uprooted, affecting areas needing immediate reforestation, the report said.

Acknowledging the threats the effects of climate change poses, Msgr. Velarde has reportedly called on the faithful to act now before it's too late.

Meanwhile, Gov. Defensor said the MOA is still subject for review and ratification by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan.

Once fully enforced, Catholics in Iloilo who want to marry or have someone baptized or buried will be asked to plant trees in designated areas in each municipality to be called "Tree Park of Life."

Local government units across the country must adopt the policy. The Commission on Elections (Comelec) should also make it a prerequisite before politicians seeking election can obtain a certificate of candidacy.

If ordinary citizens are obliged, they should be required too. After all, planting trees is for the protection and conservation of the environment everyone can benefit.