In an unusually environmentally-aware interpretation of governmental public service, the Philippine National Police Force has teamed up with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to plant 10 million trees by February 28, 2013. Seeking to combat climate change through much needed reforestation, the 140,000 strong force will plant the trees as part of the Philippines National Greening Project. The DENR hope that the partnership, named Police for Nature: 10 Million Trees Heritage for the Future, will lead to the rehabilitation of 200,000 hectares of lost canopy, an effort which will require some 114 million seedlings.
The vulnerable islands of the Philippines have lost a significant amount of their forest and wetland areas. As illegal mining and logging operations continue to contribute to deforestation, it has been estimated that the Philippines loses 2% of its tree cover each year. The Philippine Government has responded aggressively, with the DENR announcing last year that it “needs a green army composed of “hundreds” of forestry graduates to supervise the reforestation of the country’s 8 million hectares of denuded forest lands,” according to the Inquirer News.
And now with the Philippine National Police force contributing to that army, they’ll be able to cover two fundamental aspects of the replanting — by working with the DENR to establish nurseries in all police camps they can ensure that there are an adequate number of quality seedlings, and with each of the 140,000 strong force responsible for planting only six seedlings a month, they will provide a readily available force of not-so-volunteer planters.
While the PNP’s environmental action may seem unusual, on closer inspection it appears to fall right in line with their ethos. Their philosophy may be one of service, honor and justice, but within their core values they also list the commitment to be makatao and makakalikasan — humane and environmentally friendly. Three years ago the police and DENR entered into a pact to better enforce environmental law, with the intent to protect natural life including Philippine “marine resources, from dynamite and cyanide fishing and all other forms of illegal activities, including the construction of fishpens and fishcages without permit, destroying the quality of the water bodies,”
With this most recent collaboration, the Philippine National Police will not only serve to protect the environment, but also contribute towards a significant government-led restoration of the Philippines canopy.