SUBIC BAY FREEPORT – Employees and officials of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA), along with members of the Subic Bay Freeport community, will be planting some 25,000 seedlings this rainy season as part of the agency’s environmental conservation program. SBMA Chairman and Administrator Roberto V. Garcia said the month-long tree-planting activity will start on July 12, a Friday, and will be held three more Fridays hence.
The tree-planting program will supplement a similar project undertaken three years ago by SBMA employees and community volunteers. “As with the first tree-planting program, we would need the help of community organizations and individuals to assist us and bring this worthy endeavor into another successful conclusion,” Garcia said. “We need more volunteers to get this job done,” he added. Angel Bagaloyos, manager of the SBMA Ecology Center, which is spearheading the activity, said the tree-planting project will be held again at Subic’s Mount Santa Rita area, the same locale where the SBMA planted 10,000 seedlings in 2010.
Different species of forest trees, mostly endemic to the region, and some fruit trees will be planted in the area, he added. Bagaloyos also said that the trees planted three years ago are now “already grown and established” because part of the SBMA tree-planting program involved caring for the plants for a period of three years, or until the seedlings have become self-sustainable. The remaining open patches of land in the largely grassy hillsides of Mount Santa Rita would be ideal planting sites for this year, he also said.
As manager of the Subic Bay Special Economic and Freeport Zone, the SBMA is mandated to care for the environment through the agency’s Ecology Center. Garcia noted that under its environmental conservation program, the SBMA has established its own nursery to collect seeds and grow saplings for reforestation projects.
Through the Ecology Center, the agency has also donated seedlings to schools and community organizations for their own tree-planting projects, he said. Garcia said that individuals and groups who would like to volunteer their help in the tree-planting project this year may get in touch with the SBMA Ecology Center at (047) 252-4656 to register their names