The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has gained a strong ally in the government’s reforestation program after the Lions Clubs International (LCI) Multiple District 301 Philippines has committed to plant 10,000 trees nationwide during the 34th anniversary of the DENR on June 10.

"The DENR welcomes the initiative of Lions Clubs International Multiple District 301 Philippines to help in the National Greening Program, a priority program of the government, which addresses deforestation and helps in climate change mitigation and adaptation,” said Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu.

LCI Multiple District (MD) 301 Council Chairperson Dra. Elisa B. Valdez said that in pursuit of the partnership, the organization is committing to plant 10,000 trees all over the country to support the National Greening Program of the DENR. She also confirmed that LCI MD 301 will also take part in “coastal cleanup, outreach programs, and information, education and communication initiatives.”

The commitment and partnership, sealed through a memorandum of agreement (MOA) signed by Cimatu and Valdez during the DENR’s 34th anniversary, aims to strengthen the spirit of volunteerism and promote behavioral change towards environment protection.

It also aims to collaborate on environmental activities aligned with DENR programs and encourage citizen participation such as the clean-up of esteros and rivers, the rehabilitation of Manila Bay, the rescue of wildlife, and the education of the citizenry in care for the environment and natural resources, among others.

The partnership was initiated by DENR Undersecretary for Solid Waste Management and Local Government Units Concerns Benny Antiporda, who is the governor of LCI District 301-A2.

Even prior to the MOA signing, the DENR, through Antiporda, has worked together with LCI districts in various environmental activities such as tree planting and the Manila Bay and river clean-ups, as well as in its programs for persons with disabilities (PWDs) and other stakeholders.

“The DENR is grateful to LCI Multiple District 301 for the spirit of volunteerism, imbibed among its members, that it will bring into the DENR and its stakeholders. This is much needed now more than any other time. We want to eliminate the culture of indifference among many Filipinos which relinquishes all environmental responsibility to the government alone,” said Antiporda.

He added that volunteerism is in itself the prime example of behavior change.

“When you have changed your behavior towards the care and protection of the environment, it becomes second nature for you to volunteer for environmental activities,” Antiporda expressed.

LCI is a service, civic, non-political organization with thousands of members nationwide. It is involved in community service to help improve the lives of people, and promotes the principles of good government and good citizenship.

In the agreement, the LCI will mobilize its members and its service community within their area of jurisdiction to participate in the environmental voluntary activities of the department related to DENR priority programs in line with the campaign "Tayo ang Kalikasan."

Tayo ang Kalikasan is the DENR's advocacy campaign that aims to raise the level of awareness of Filipinos and promote behavioral change towards the effects of their activities on the environment. ###