By Leonel Abasola

Senator Jinggoy Estrada (File photo) 

MANILA – Senator Jinggoy Estrada has proposed tree planting as a requirement for seeking building permits nationwide as part of the government’s program on forest rehabilitation and mitigate the effects of climate change.

In filing Senate Bill No.1444 or the “Green Measures Act” last November, Estrada said before getting building permits, developers must plant at least five trees in order to enhance environmental quality, and preserve the environment for present and future generations.

“All applicants for building permits of residential, commercial, industrial and public building development projects are hereby mandated to submit a Tree Planting Plan (TPP) in addition to other requirements imposed by local government units (LGUs).” Estrada said in his explanatory note.

The proposed measure mandates any person, firm, corporation, department, office, bureau, agency or instrumentality of the government intending to construct, alter, repair or convert any building or structure, to set aside and properly maintain areas adequate for planting and maintaining trees and flora.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources, together with the Department of the Interior and Local Government and the Department of Agriculture, shall issue the Implementing Rules and Regulations and also be tasked to monitor the trees planted.

The said agencies, Estrada said, will also determine the number of trees to be planted, taking into account at least one tree for every 500 square meters for commercial or industrial permits; one tree for every 250 square meters for housing and development projects.

Estrada said the same agencies will also determine what species to be planted, and must prioritize indigenous species, taking into considerations climate and topography and the use of growing endemic ornamental plants or trees and fruit bearing trees is recommended for residential lots. (PNA)