July 21, 2021 – The Department of Education (DepEd) emphasized the significance of conservation and protecting the environment to schools and communities during the recently concluded Search for Heritage Trees Awarding Ceremonies held virtually last June 30.

Undersecretary for Administration Alain Del B. Pascua shared that discovering century-old trees and their cultural and biological value will help us understand the importance of conservation and environmental protection.

Layunin natin nahubugin ang kabataang Pilipino na may kaalaman, pagpapahalaga at pangangalaga sa kapaligiran at kalikasan ng ating bansa,” Undersecretary Pascua said during his opening message.

Sa pamamagitan ng programang ito, nagiging living laboratories ang ating mga paaralan at nabibigyan ng pagkakataon ang mga estudyante para matuklasan at mapag-aralan ang biological at cultural value ng mga puno sa kanilang paligid na kadalasan ay hindi nabibigyang pansin,” he added.

DepEd recognized Padre Burgos Central School (Region IV-A, Quezon), Partida I Elementary School (Region III, Nueva Ecija), Tungngod Elementary School (CAR, Ifugao), Sumacab Elementary School (Region III, Cabanatuan City), and Tinawagan Elementary School (Region V, Camarines Sur) as part of the competition’s winners.

Meanwhile, Carcarmay Elementary School (Region I, La Union), Kaligayahan Elementary School (NCR, Quezon City), Bogo Central School (Region VII, Bogo City), Iling Elementary School (Region IV-B, Occidental Mindoro), and Tuguegarao West Central School (Region II, Tuguegarao City) were also part of the top 10 winners who were able to preserve their respective century-old trees.

“On behalf of the Department of Education, I congratulate each and every one of you who participated in the Search for Heritage Trees. Your efforts will create a ripple of change towards the preservation and conservation of trees and the environment in your respective schools and community,” Usec. Pascua said.

Furthermore, Hubert Dale Riña, Licensed Forester and Digital Illustrator of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), discussed the Importance of Heritage Trees in Biodiversity and its policies during his talk.

Riña emphasized the different priority programs in the country in protecting our environment, including the National Greening Program, National Forest Protection Program, and Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) strategy.

Bureau of Learner Support Service OIC Director IV Lope Santos III mentioned that ‘Makakalikasan’ is one of the Department’s core values in developing the learners to be better Filipino citizens.

“Isa sa mga core values ng DepEd ang pagiging ‘Makakalikasan’, kasama ang pagiging ‘Maka-Diyos’, ‘Makatao’, at ‘Makabansa’, kung kaya’t pinahahalagahan natin ang mga puno na naging saksi sa ating pag-aaral, pag-unlad at pagyabong,” OIC Director Santos III said.

Aside from the recognition, the schools included in the top 10 also received laptop bags, shoes, and flash drives to help implement distance learning.