SND spearheads launch of Agri-reforestation project app of Army Unit, NGO
Fri | March 15, 2024

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March 13, 2024 (Camp O'Donell, Capas, Tarlac) - Secretary of National Defense and Task Force El Niño Chairperson Gilberto C. Teodoro, Jr. led the launch of the “Gift of Tree” application, as part of the agri-reforestation project between the Philippine Army's Armor Division and the Tarlac Heritage Foundation (THF) called “Water is Life.”

Highlighting the broader significance of environmental conservation, Secretary Teodoro stressed the necessity for creating sustainable solutions amidst the recurring challenges posed by El Niño, to safeguard not only the environment but also the well-being of communities.

“We are doing our share to protect the environment, and to have disaster risk reduction... We are talking already about quality of life, health, and public safety,” Teodoro said in his speech. “We need more dams and water impounding systems.”

The Defense Secretary underscored the importance of undertaking environmental initiatives and urged active participation from all sectors of society, particularly the youth and students present in the activity, to take part in this project.

The SND also assured the participants about the government's comprehensive approach to mitigate the impacts of El Niño phenomenon, including the upcoming launch of an El Nino portal.

“Ginagamit namin sa Task force El Niño itong pagkakataon na ito through the El Nino portal, which will be launched soon by the President,” he said, sharing that this portal will serve as a vital tool in collecting data to navigate through the water supply shortages in the country.

Secretary Teodoro was joined by Gen. Romeo S. Brawner, Chief of Staff, Armed Forces of the Philippines; MGen Facundo Palafox IV, newly installed Commander, AFP Southern Luzon Command and current Armor Division Commander, Philippine Army; local government officials; and officials from the THF. The “Gift of Tree” mobile app aims to provide users easy access to sponsor a seedling for tree planting activities.

In conclusion, Secretary Teodoro urged the local government officials and the public to appeal to national leaders to carefully study the locations for future water impounding projects in Tarlac. He emphasized the importance of considering the “sustainability and safety of downstream communities,” and the role of these projects in securing the province's future.