The Climate Change Commission (CCC) began the commemoration of the 16th Annual Global Warming and Climate Change Consciousness Week 2023 (CCC Week 2023) with a tree planting and growing activity dubbed “Net Zero Challenge” at the Caliraya-Lumot Watershed in Paete, Laguna on Sunday.
The Net Zero Challenge (NZC) is part of the CCC’s Carbon Neutrality Program in the Caliraya-Lumot Watershed, which aims to offset carbon emissions through nature-based solutions.
This initiative is projected to sequester 75.5 tons of carbon dioxide from 2023 to 2027. The tree planting and growing goes beyond commitments to achieving zero carbon emissions. It also offers advantages in disaster risk reduction, where trees stabilize slopes to minimize the likelihood of landslides and flash floods in the area.
Secretary Robert E.A. Borje, CCC Vice Chairperson and Executive Director, led the activity, which was attended by Paete Mayor Ronald Cosico, Paete Vice Mayor Vergilio Madridejos Jr., and representatives of Laguna Governor Ramil Hernandez, Laguna 2nd District Rep. Ruth Hernandez, and Kalayaan town Mayor Sandy Laganapan.
In his speech, Borje emphasized the significance of 5Ps: planet, people, plant, partnership and prosperity.
“We are here for our planet. We are here for the people who are affected the most by climate change. We need to plant more trees, dahil malaki ang naitutulong ng mga puno bilang carbon sinks (because trees play big role as carbon sinks),” Borje said.
“Bukod dito, ang mas maraming puno ay nakakatulong sa pagsigla ng ating watershed, nakakatulong din ito sa pagpigil ng baha at pagguho ng lupa (In addition, more trees help revitalize our watershed, it also helps prevent floods and soil erosion). Partnerships with other national government agencies, LGUs [local government units], civil society organizations and communities will give us a better chance of achieving our goal of resiliency and prosperity, lalo na kapag inalagaan natin ang ating kalikasan (especially if protect our environment),” he added.
Cosico expressed his support for the CCC’s net zero initiative, emphasizing the need to promote and utilize renewable resources.
“Sa mga ganitong gawain, ang inyo pong linkgod ay very supportive. Tama talagang dapat na natin pagtuunan ng pansin ang climate change. Iba’t iba na ang nangyayari sa ating bansa. Tayo, sa bayan ng Paete, nararanasan na rin natin (ang epekto ng climate change). Talagang tayo’y kinakailangan nang magtanim, magtanim, at magtanim dito sa ating bayan ng Paete (I really support this kind of activities. We really have to focus on climate change. Different things are happening in our country. In Paete, we are already experiencing the impact of climate change. We really need to plant more trees here in our town of Paete),” Cosico said.
Together with various organizations and stakeholders, including the Philippine Red Cross and the Net Zero Carbon Alliance, the CCC led the planting of 625 seedlings across a one-hectare expanse within the Caliraya-Lumot Watershed.
In partnership with the National Power Corporation (NPC) and the Paete Sagip Sigla Palay Farmers Association Inc, the Climate Change Commission, through the NZC, targets to plant 15,625 seedlings across a 25-hectare area in the Caliraya-Lumot Watershed, covering the towns of Lumban, Kalayaan, and Cavinti, Laguna.
This initiative offers disaster risk reduction as well as adaptation and mitigation co-benefits that will reduce the damage caused by natural hazards to lives and livelihoods, and bring positive effects on air quality, biodiversity and greenhouse gas emission reduction.
The CCC works continuously to achieve a carbon-neutral, sustainable future, and hopes to replicate similar partnership and resource arrangements with other national government agencies.
“We hope to replicate the partnership and resource arrangements with other NGAs [national government agencies] and LGUs. Ito pong (The) cooperation agreement between the National Power Corporation and the Climate Change Commission makes it possible for partnerships with LGUs like Paete to achieve mitigation targets and build adaptive capacities,” Borje said.
The 16th Annual CCC Week is a week-long event that underscores the importance of community collaboration and collective action to address climate change.
It runs from Nov. 19 to 25 with the theme “Bayanihan Para sa Klima: Bagong Bansang Matatag.” (PNA)