21 April 2021 –  In his famous poem, “Trees”, the poet Joyce Kilmer declared, “Poems are made by fools like me, but only God can make a tree.”

With this as inspiration, it’s all systems go for the launching of the 1st Baguio Tree Festival on May 24 during flag-raising rites at City Hall highlighted by the unveiling of activities by Mayor Benjamin Magalong, Rep. Mark Go, Vice-Mayor Faustino Olowan and other dignitaries.

This was revealed by City Environment and Parks Management Office (CEPMO) head Atty. Renan Diwas in the weekly management committee meeting of city officials, April 20, led by the Mayor.

He said the event is based on the Baguio Environment Code that mandates the Summer Capital to conduct the activity every June to September or the planting season.

“We are hoping to institutionalize the festival upon the request of various sectors, agencies and non-government organizations who would like to conduct tree planting activities,”  Diwas said.

CEPMO intends  to curate and orchestrate these tree planting sorties  by different  groups to assess  the success of these endeavors that will serve as a template for similar activities in succeeding years, he added.

Activities include World Environment Day celebration on June 5 at the Irisan Eco-Park; World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought at either Malcolm Square or Arboretum, June 17;  Mobile Tree Cart Parade Day along Session road, June 20; and a Mobile Tree Cart Exhibit and Display at Malcolm Square on June 20 to 25;

Community tree planting in various sites will be conducted from June 25, Arbor Day, to September; Sept. 17-23, World Clean and Green Week celebration at Malcolm Square, September 17 to 23; and Recognition of Stakeholders  on September 27 where those who have given exemplary contribution to the environment will be accorded the Green Thumb Award.

“The Tree Festival is primarily focused on local residents and the community as a whole.  It is aimed at educating and encouraging them to get involved with the city’s urban forest management program,” Diwas said.

It also jibes with one of the Mayor’s 15-point agenda for good governance that pushes for the revitalization of the environment. – Gaby B. Keith