Today marks a very memorable day for all of us. People from all walks of life gather for this very momentous event...the launching of the DPWH, DENR, and DSWD Tree Replacement Program. We are now in this very significant place, Brgy. Batang, Hernani, Eastern Samar, known by the people from the rest of the country and even the world as one of the most hardly hit and devastated area by the strongest typhoon Haiyan or Yolanda last November 8, 2013.


During the typhoon, many people accounted or testified the importance of the trees and forests in saving and protecting lives and properties. In the case of Batang and other barangays of Hernani, the mangrove forests play its life saving role during the typhoon. Gleaned from these accounts, I could say that we really have to restore our damaged tree plantations. We have to rehabilitate the mangrove plantations which were severely damaged by typhoon Yolanda.


The program that we are launching today manifests the synergistic forces of the three agencies in restoring the mangrove areas and the upland plantations to compensate the loss of the roadside trees which have been affected by the ongoing road development of the millennium challenge corporation and other unsustainable activities.


The trees that were cut due to the road development, the mangrove trees that were ravaged during typhoon Yolanda as well as the trees in the upland areas abused by the kaingeneros and the illegal loggers all deserve to be restored and rehabilitated to sustain the balance of our ecology and for the benefit of the present and future generations.


We at the DENR together with our partners, the DPWH and DSWD recognize the necessity of the road development.  However, in the course of this development, the trees that were cut serving as sacrificial objects became the tradeoff of development. As a stop gap measure, the tripartite agreement between the three agencies hopes to provide mitigating measures so as not to jeopardize the environment. Through this launching program, we enjoin all sectors and individuals who are present today, to support this tree replacement program.  These trees which serve as sacrificial objects in our quest for development and occurrence of natural calamities deserve to be replaced in order to serve its role and purpose.


Generating success for this program will yield a 100 percent guarantee for environmental amelioration as well as economic benefits for the beneficiaries. For every tree cut under the MCC road development, a total of 100 trees will be planted as replacement by the beneficiaries from the different concerned communities and organizations prequalified by the DENR and DSWD.  This is expected to offset the other trees lost from other causes.


We hope that as we gain success in this tree replacement program we will also be gaining our efforts towards climate change mitigation and adaptation.  Planting  more trees is one way of responding to the  threats posed by global warming and climate change.


I am happy to witness the presence of our key official and leaders of the Province and municipalities of Eastern Samar which were affected by the MCC road development

I used to say this, WE AT THE DENR CANNOT DO IT ALONE. The phenomenon of global warming and climate change is so vague.  Climate change is already happening and it is now regarded as the new condition or the new normal.  


We at the DENR and partner agencies DPWH and DSWD believe that this tree replacement program is one of the many examples for us to do in order  to enhance our environment and mitigate the ill effects of climate change.


Active cooperation, participation and support in this program are actually PROTECTING OURSELVES. Adaptation measures are to strengthen the ability to survive and be safe.  Mitigation measures are to strengthen the environment that plays a critical role in our sustenance and welfare.


While we thank all the people and organizations from the country and all over the world for helping us move on and be resilient for what happened to us after Yolanda,  let's all help to save ourselves to be capable and strong to survive the harshness of climate change's manifestation.


To one and all, join us in this endeavor, THE TREE REPLACEMENT PROGRAM for a better and safer Mother Earth.


Damo nga salamat ngan maupay nga aga ha iyo ngatanan!