MANILA, Sept. 5, 2011?The Episcopal Commission on Youth of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines will launch the National Tree Planting day—a project for the celebration of the CBCP Year of the Youth—on September 8.

A total of 49,920 seedlings will be planted simultaneously throughout the country by representatives from various dioceses, religious organizations and government agency.

Participating in the national tree-planting campaign are the Archdioceses of Jaro and Cagayan de Oro; Dioceses of Balanga, San Jose, Nueva Ecija, Bangued, Borongan, Laoag, Iligan, Urdaneta, Surigao, Malaybalay and Cabanatuan; Apostolic Vicariate of Puerto Princesa, Palawan, a parish in Danao City, Cebu, and the organizations CFC-Singles for Christ (SFC) and the National Youth Commission (NYC)

Fr. Alfredo Albor, Director of Care Foundation, stressed that this kind of activity helps our Mother Earth rebuild what is lost from her.

“Naniniwala tayo sa yugto ng seryosong pagkalinga sa buhay ng likha, being threaten by destructive humans such as mining, logging and global environmental crisis. [Perhaps] 200 years from now, wala nang tao na naglalakad sa mundong ito kasi wala na tayong napagkukunan ng shade, wala nang mga puno,” Albor said.

Albor added that the challenge of the church as the bearers of the faith, which is mandated for creation, is also to care for the flock of Jesus Christ.

“Jesus said to Peter, Peter, do you care for me? Peter answered, ‘Yes Jesus.’ ‘Care for my flock,’ Jesus said. What Jesus wanted to tell Peter was to care not just [for] human life but also for the environment because if you will destroy the environment, you will also destroy human life,” Albor further said.

He challenged the youth to expand their concerns, not just the issue of RH bill, but also to care for life of the environment.

“We must continue to nurture the seedlings that we planted, the protection of life that God created,” Albor said.

Care Foundation is ECY’s partner for the tree-planting activity.

Meanwhile, the Commission on Youth has tapped the collaboration of the Department of Education (DepEd) together with the office of the President for the declaration of Sept. 8 as a National Tree Planting day but due to some reasons, both agencies remained silent on the matter.

Though supportive of the Commission’s tree-planting activity, DepEd said it cannot declared the event as such for they have a continuous tie-up project with the DENR that also serves the purpose of what the commission on youth is aiming.

But in its letter to ECY, DepEd stated that if CBCP will declare Sept. 8 as NTPD, they will mobilize grades 5 and 6 pupils and secondary students to plant trees on the said date.

ECY executive secretary Fr. Conegundo Garganta however, said the CBCP has already discussed the activity in its latest Pastoral Letter.

He said the government agencies will only have to quote the said activity and make a circular statement because it is already recognized by CBCP.

The tree planting activities in the diocesan, parishes, organizations and catholic school levels has been operational since January.

The 1 million trees project of the commission will be a whole year round activity and will end on January 2012. But the planted trees will be continuously taken care of by the people who have planted it. (Jandel Posion)