The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), together with the municipal government of General Tinio in Nueva Ecija province and other stakeholders, recently completed its annual tree-planting activities in Sierra Madre in a bid to save what remains of the mountain range’s dwindling forest cover.

The participants to the Sierra Madre Greening Program spent four days since July to plant trees at the site of the Upper Tabuating Small Reservior Irrigation Project. The tree-planting activities were held on July 14 and 26 and August 3 and 16, pursuant to the 21-year-old “Adopt-A-Mountain Program” under DENR Administrative Order No. 98-62.

Aside from the local government of General Tinio, the DENR was also joined in the undertaking by participants from the National Irrigation Administration, the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the Philippine National Police and the Rotary Clubs of Makati Rockwell, Makati EDSA and SanFrancisco del Monte, Quezon City.

The tree-planting activities were also in accordance with the DENR’s ISO 14001:2015 certification which requires the continuous rehabilitation and reforestation of degraded forest areas.

In 2015, the DENR became the first institution or agency in the country to receive the ISO 14001:2015 certificate from the ISO, an international standard-setting body composed of representatives from national standard organizations of over 140 member-countries.

Since then, the ISO has been reissuing the certification to the agency based on the recommendation of the Philippine arm of Standard Global Services (SGS), the world’s leading inspection, verification, testing and certification firm.

ISO 14001 is an internationally agreed standard that sets out the requirements for an environmental management system. It helps organizations improve their environmental performance through more efficient use of resources and reduction of waste, gaining a competitive advantage and the trust of stakeholders.

The tree planting activity, led by DENR Internal Audit Service Director Rolando Castro, will help to reforest Sierra Madre that supplies water to Angat Dam, the main source of water of Metro Manila.

For his part, General Tinio Mayor Isidro Pajarillaga expressed his gratitude to the DENR and others who took part in the tree-planting activity.

“I consider everyone who planted a tree here today as heroes,” Pajarillaga said. “This is the start of a beautiful aspiration for our environment.”

Other participants to the tree-planting activities include delegates from Guardians-Nueva Ecija Chapter, students and residents from Barangay Nazareth, and local officials from other municipalities and cities in Nueva Ecija. ###