Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje today announced that a total of 10 million trees will be planted by the Philippine National Police (PNP) in support of the National Greening Program (NGP).

Paje said the PNP’s pledge of support for the NGP was officially sealed recently through a memorandum of agreement he signed last week with PNP Director General Nicanor Bartolome, which kicked off the implementation of the “Pulis Makakalikasan: 10 Milyong Puno, Pamana sa Kinabukasan”.

“Indeed, this is another convergence we are pursuing under the NGP, and this early I can tell that it is going to be successful because of the commitment shown by the PNP’s top hierarcy,” said Paje, citing that the greening program’s strength is drawn from the complementation of skills and manpower from other government agencies and sectors in civil society.

With the DENR as the lead implementing agency, the NGP, which President Aquino established through Executive Order No. 26 issued on Feb. 24, 2011, has the Departments of Agriculture and Agrarian Reform as co-implementers under the convergence initiative.

The “Pulis Makakalikasan” project of the PNP will run up to Feb. 28, 2013, and will involve all men and women of the police force, numbering around 140,000. Each employee is tasked to plant 72 seedlings per year, or six seedlings per month.

Aside from tree planting, Bartolome also committed to establish tree nurseries in all its facilities nationwide.

According to Paje, this move of the PNP to also raise their seedling requirements responds well to the program’s primary concern for quality planting stocks. “The PNP leadership responded well to the two major concerns of the greening program – adequacy of seedling supply and mobilization of volunteers to plant and grow the planted seedlings,” he stressed.

Under the agreement, the PNP shall put up tree nurseries inside PNP camps throughout the country. The DENR, on the other hand, will provide technical people to assist in identifying tree species suitable for planting in designated planting areas, taking into consideration both the prevailing climatic and soil conditions.

The DENR will likewise assist the police force in identifying areas for their tree planting activities to ensure that selected sites meet NGP standards. As a policy, planting sites must be accessible to forest communities as they will be responsible for nurturing the newly-planted seedlings to ensure the survival and growth of the plantations.

According to Paje, the DENR will initially supply the seedling requirements of the PNP, which it will replace “as soon as the seedlings it will produce would reach the plantable size”.

For this year, some 200,000 hectares are targeted for rehabilitation, requiring at least 114 million seedlings.