Saleng Pine Tree Festival institutionalized
The annual Saleng Pine Tree festival in the city, the first celebration done last year, is now institutionalized through the recently-approved City Ordinance 02, series of 2022.
The celebration conforms with city ordinance 16, series of 2016 or the Environmental Code of Baguio City declaring June, July, August and September as tree planting months. Last year, virtual and limited face-to-face pine tree festival activities were done, including; tree species and bamboo planting, exhaust/emission testing, cycling events, recycling and upcycling, anti-smoke belching, bonsai cultivation and exhibit, river clean-up, photography contest.
A tree cart parade, exhibit and display was also done, from the top of Session road down to business establishment owners’ areas or Malcolm Square. Emulating areas from Germany where green areas were upheld in the midst of bustling cities, the activity showcased green thumbs’ creativity, artistry and eye for environmental aesthetics. Recognition through plaques and cash incentives await best-designed carts, the ordinance states. Participation in the cart parade is open to the academic community, business establishments, company or corporation, government agencies, and other organizations.
The importance of pine trees, awareness, promotion of biodiversity such that species compatible with pine trees shall be nurtured in the same planting area, support and observation of environmental events in the global, national and local events with environmental protection are part of the celebration’s focus.
Other concerns include the state of the environment and public awareness, ecosystem restoration, climate change and disaster risks, problems and advocacy programs.
More importantly, the festival highlights community cooperation and commitment in caring for the environment, emphasizing tree planting and caring, to have “breathable air, potable water, cleaner and comfortable environment as investment into the next generation.”
Other programs include urban forest stewardship management towards community support and participation, clean-ups and forums, and other virtual means to explore ways forward, to balance agriculture and environment and the economy.
The ordinance on revitalizing the environment also conforms with plans and programs of the 16-point action plan of Mayor Benjamin Magalong. Inputs from stakeholders during a public consultation were collated for the ordinance. – Julie G. Fianza