ITOGON, Benguet, June 16 (PIA) -- Government employees from different agencies recently planted pine and coffee tree seedling in observance of the AIDS Candlelight Memorial and the Philippine Environment Month in sitio Camisong, Barangay Loakan in Itogon, Benguet.
The tree planting activity led by the Cordillera regional offices of the Department of Health and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources planted at least 100 coffee and 130 pine seedlings at two plantation sites along the Ambuklao Road overlooking the Binga Dam.
DOH-CAR Medical Officer Dr. Juls Alcala said that the tree planting activity was part of the candlelight memorial ceremony was conducted recently in the city of Baguio. The trees planted are in the remembrance of the lives of those who died due to HIV / AIDS.
The local government of Baguio and the Baguio AIDS Watch Council headed by Mayor Mauricio Domogan conducted on May 31 the ceremonial AIDS candlelight memorial at the Igorot Park which was attended and supported by the different stakeholders including night workers and entertainers.
With the theme, “Let’s Keep the Light on HIV,” the event was aimed to be positive and forward-looking while also recognizing that this remains a memorial event for many. The theme also spoke of the urgent need to ensure that HIV and AIDS do not drop off the agenda for international policy makers with a post-2015 agenda looming, and the imminent replenishment of the Global Fund.
Alcala also added that the tree planting was also a way to support the greening efforts of the national government and the celebration of the Philippine Environment Month in June and the World Environment Day on June 5.
DENR Forester Cesar Medino explained that the tree planting event which he said will be a great help for the community in Camisong once the coffee trees would bear fruit. He added the importance of trees also in slope protection and soil erosion particularly in the community of Barangay Loakan which was one of the most devastated communities during typhoon Pepeng in 2009.
Medino encouraged the tree planters from the government to visit the tree planting site and make sure that trees which were planted would grow and be sustained with the help of the community.
Agencies present during the tree planting were DOH, DILG, CHED, DSWD, BGHMC, DENR, PIA, Baguio City Hall and the Baguio Health Services Office.
After the tree planting activity, the government agencies lighted candles and observed several moments of silence to remember the departed AIDS victims. (JDP/RMC- PIA CAR)