MANILA (Mabuhay) – A bill has been filed in the House of Representatives to declare November 8 the “Day of Rising” to commemorate the Filipino “Bayanihan” or community spirit in the wake of Super Typhoon “Yolanda” last year.
Oriental Mindoro Representative Salvador Leachon proposed setting that date as a day to plant trees and to rekindle the sense of camaraderie among Filipinos that occurred in the aftermath of Yolanda (international name: Haiyan) in eastern Visayas.
In an explanatory note, the congressman said there was a strong need to raise awareness among the people of the various ways to curb the effects of natural disasters aggravated or enhanced by climate change.
The planting trees as a national endeavor is one such approach, said Leachon, a vice chairman of the House committees on good government and public accountability, and on Millennium Development Goals.
He noted the strength of Yolanda, the strongest storm ever to make landfall in recent history. The super typhoon ravaged large parts of Leyte and Samar on Nov. 8, 2013, killing more than 6,000 people and injuring almost 30,000 others.
Damage was estimated at P36.69 billion, half on infrastructure and the other half on agriculture, across seven regions in the Visayas.
“Planting trees on a national level will help address the ill effects of climate change through a Private-Public Partnership (PPP) project, knowing very well that protecting the environment is everyone’s concern in society,” Leachon said.
His House Bill 4981 provides for a state policy to “protect and advance the right of the people to a balanced and healthy ecology in accord with the rhythm and harmony of nature.”
Leachon cited a Supreme Court decision stating that “unless the right to a balanced and healthful ecology is protected… the day would not be far when all else would be lost for… generations which stand to inherit nothing but parched earth incapable of sustaining life.”
The bill is now pending in the House special committee on reforestation chaired by Tarlac Rep. Susan Yap.
It mandates the Departments of Environment and Natural Resources, of Education, and of the Interior and Local Government, in coordination with the Climate Change Commission, as lead agencies.
A counterpart measure has been filed in the Senate by Sen. Grace Poe. (MNS)