Tuesday, 20th February 2018


Tree planting req for couples effective Aug 1

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ROXAS CITY—A public hearing was held July 3 on the proposed city ordinance requiring would-be couples to plant one tree as additional condition for the issuance of a marriage license.

Led by Councilor Powell Del Rosario, presiding chair, together with Honorable Sanggunian members, namely: Trina Almalbis, Cesar Yap and Cora Balgos Tiangco.

Key players of the ordinance attended the public hearing, including City Registrar Ali-Salvio Limbaña, Department of Environment & Natural Resources Dennis Villa, Mt. Carmel Parish Church, Mr. Fernando Billones, City Population Office (Virgie Azarcon), and other representatives from the Association of Barangay Chairmen (ABC) office, the Capiz Provincial Press Bureau, The Capiz Times, IBC-DYJJ, Radio Bombo and the Roxas City Press Bureau.

The highlights of the hearing were summarized by Dr. Yap, to include, 1) the supply and availability of tree seedlings, 2) the problem of space or site, 3) and possible infringement on the couples’ rights to contract marriage.

Almalbis was worried that there might not be enough or accessible site for tree planting within the urban proper, “basi sa gwa na, ang iban sa kabukiran.” The City Agricultural Office (CAO) must be tasked to identify or designate this site, in coordination with the City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council. So far, there are 3 land areas in 3 barangays that can be made as site, she added.

Tiangco saw the importance of information dissemination, particularly formulating an information, education and communication (IEC) campaign plan or strategy. The mass media must come in and take more active roles. She stressed that in any project, “it’s not easy in the beginning, but if methods or systems are put in place to address the implementation problematics,” the process will be manageable. There are always “birthing problems,” the system will take care of these. On the available supply of seed trees, she said that a mechanism must be designed in which the CAO can accept the same, in say “pots” in case no site has been designated yet. On this point, Almalbis suggested that the Department of Education (DepEd) be tapped as project partner to encourage public school pupils to not only grow vegetables in gardening activities but at the very least “plant” one tree as a matter of curriculum requirement, and perhaps deposit it to the CAO for use of marrying couples.

Almalbis clarified: In certain cases couples can ask seed trees for free from their neighbors. Should the barangay units take the lead in “seed trees bank,” in great number the latter can be a community-based incomegenerating project.

President of Parish Pastoral Council Billones of Mt. Carmel Parish recommended that tree planting activities must be give priority to areas “nga gina-agyan” or “alagyan sang baha.” He also expressed his commitment to help in the IEC aspect during pre-marriage counseling.

On the whole, Del Rosario considered to make certain amendments on the draft TREE /1 ordinance, like a provision on an oversight committee or task force.

After listening to the opinions and/or suggestions of the attendees, Del Rosario suggested that the date of implementation of the proposed ordinance will be set on August 1, next month. Hearing no objections, he assured that the effectivity date can be done because there are no penal provisions. Thus there is no need for publication, just posting copies of the ordinance in three (3) conspicuous places as required by the 1991 Local Government Code will do.

The tree planting requirement prior to issuance of marriage license translates the policy of the city government “to promote and encourage community involvement in the attainment of a clean and green environment and development that is sustainable to ensure that future generations will have a better place to live in.” (Charl Boie)

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