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Atienza cites big push given to reforestation

[ Manila Bulletin Online ] July 31, 2008

Secretary Lito Atienza of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) yesterday said the country’s forest and other areas will be covered with several millions of trees following the big push given by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo for reforestation to mitigate the impact of climate change.

"The P2-billion allocation for reforestation given by the President is a very timely and welcome development. It will contribute greatly in slowing down the devastating effects of global warming and climate change," he said.

President Arroyo has likewise allotted P500 million in 2008 and P1.5 billion in 2009 for clean water projects that "will give a great boost in our rehabilitation efforts in Manila Bay, Laguna de Bay, and Pasig River. The polluted waters of these areas also aggravate global warming," the secretary said.

Atienza called President Arroyo a "green President" for her concern on environmental issues which "inspires environmental advocates to strive harder to make the Philippines clean and green." Under President Arroyo’s administration, Atienza said, over a hundred marine and fish sanctuaries have been set up since 2001.

The latest data show that the country’s forest cover has increased in the past years and is now estimated at 7.2 million hectares, Atienza said. The President wants to further increase the country’s forest cover and has given a bigger budgetary allocation for forest development, he added.

"There is no longer any doubt about the destructive effects of climate change and global warming," he said. "The abnormal weather pattern being experienced all over the world indicates the gravity of the environmental problem."

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