Filipino Law Requires Students to Plant 10 Trees Before They Can Graduate

The Philippines are in the process of passing a law that would see high school and college students only eligible to graduate once they had planted at least 10 trees.

The proposed law, which has passed one of the Congress Chambers, as well as the House of Representatives formalises a Filipino tradition of planting trees upon graduation, known as the Graduation Legacy for the Environment Act.

Lawmakers currently advocating for the final passage of the legislation say it could result in more than 500 billion trees planted within a generation.

Gary Alejano, representative of the Magdalo Party and principal author of the proposed legislation said that “with over 12 million students graduating from elementary and nearly five million students graduating from high school and almost 500,000 graduating from college each year, this initiative, if properly implemented will ensure that at least 175-million new trees would be planted each year.”

“In the course of one generation, no less than 525 billion can be planted under this initiative,” he said.

“Even with a survival rate of only 10 per cent, this would mean an additional 525 million trees would be available for the youth to enjoy.”

The Philippines has had its total forest cover drop from 70 per cent to just 20 per cent in just the last 40 years. Estimates claim that the beginning of last century, there were 21 million hectares of forest cover, compared to just 5.5 million hectares in 1999. This means that the Philippines is one of the most deforested countries in the world, which magnifies the impact of floods and increases the likelihood of landslides.

Illegal logging remains a big problem for the country’s lawmakers, which this piece of legislation is directly attempting to mitigate.

According to CNN, the trees will be planted in mangroves, national parks and forests, as well as military reservations, urban areas, abandoned mines and other “suitable lands.”

“Under the bill, the Department of Education and the Commission on Higher Education will be the implementing bodies, in partnership with other government departments.”

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