Trillanes wants tree planting mandatory for graduating students

Senator Antonio “Sonny” F. Trillanes IV has filed a bill that seeks to make tree planting mandatory for graduating students from grade school to college in a bid to have at least 175 million new trees planted across the country every year.

Under Senate Bill 3166 or the proposed Graduation Legacy for the Environment Act of 2012 filed by Trillanes, all graduating elementary, high school and college students will be required to plant at least 10 trees before they graduate.

Trillanes expressed confidence the proposed legislation would result in more trees planted in less time given the huge number of students graduating from all levels annually – 12 million in primary school, 5 million in high school and 500,000 in college.

“If properly implemented, at least 175 million new trees would be planted each year under this initiative, and, more importantly, this program will help promote environmental consciousness among our youth,” Trillanes pointed out.

The lawmaker said the measure espouses the idea of “inter-generational equity,” which lays down both rights and obligations of future generations. This concept, he added, has been proven effective in achieving the twin goals of environmental protection and sustainable development.

“While we recognize the right of the youth to a balance and healthful ecology, as proclaimed in the 1987 Constitution, there is no reason why they cannot be made to contribute in order to ensure that this would be an actual reality,” Trillanes said.

The Department of Education and the Commission on Higher Education, in coordination with other government agencies, shall be tasked to implement the provisions of the bill.

Trillanes said the measure will complement President Benigno Aquino III’s Executive Order No. 26 that aims to mobilize students and government workers to plant 1.5 billion trees over a period of six years, from 2011 to 2016.

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