Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque led the launching of the “5-M Trees for Palawan Tree Planting Activity” of a mining company in Rio Tuba, Bataraza, Palawan on January 22, 2021.
“Matagal ko nang gustong makita itong Bataraza at itong Nickel Asia [Corp.] operations, [and] I’m impressed and I’m very happy kasi ito ay nagpapatunay na pupuwedeng magkaroon ng hanap-buhay ang taumbayan nang hindi po sinisira ang kalikasan,” Roque said when asked on what was his first impression when he arrived at the Eco-tourism site of RTNMC.
The greening program efforts of the of Rio Tuba Nickel Mining Corp. (RTNMC) started years ago. Now, they are aiming to reach the five millionth tree to be planted, not only to their mined-out out areas, but also in other areas of the Province of Palawan.
“This is, I hope, something that can be watched by every Filipino dahil napakayaman natin sa tanging-yaman; ang issue lang ay dapat maging responsable [sa pagmimina] at kaya naman palang maging respondable at pinatunayan ito ng Rio Tuba [Nickel Mining Corp.],” he added.
Presidential Spokesperson Roque, as he led the launching for the said project of RTN had planted a Palawan Dita and delightfully said that it was his “exercise of the day.”
The said activity conducted at RTN’s Golden Park was also participated by Nickel Asia Corp. (NAC) Vice President for Communications Jose Bayani “JB” Baylon, Rio Tuba Barangay Captain Nelson Acob and the other 21 Barangay Captains of Bataraza, former Sangguniang Bayan Member Al Ibba as Representative of Bataraza Mayor Abraham Ibba, and other participants, the DepEd teachers, Rio Tuba Barangay Council, Bataraza LGU employees, representatives from Indigenous Peoples Development Office (IPDO), the RTN employees/managers and the WPU-Rio Tuba teachers.
SUPPORT FROM OTHER SECTORS
One of the attendees, Rio Tuba Central School Principal Domingo Parong said that the program is very helpful in maintaining the balance of nature and that is the reason why they are in full support of tree planting activity.
“Ito ang mga tanim namin noon,” he happily shared to PDN as he pointing out the semi-grown trees.
On the other hand, NAC VP for Communications proudly said that the reason why they are welcomed in the other parts of the Philipines like in Surigao and Isabela is because of their experience in Rio Tuba, Bataraza, Palawan. And he said that since the company is a model for responsible mining, he invited the Presidential Spokesperson, that happened to be his friend and former classmate in UP Integrated School, to see it for himself.
‘PROGRESSIVE MINING REHABILITATION’
“Ang Rio Tuba does ‘progressive mine rehab,’ ibig sabihin, kapag na-mine out na ang isang lugar, bago lumipat sa ibang lugar, ire-rehab muna nila ‘yon,” Baylon said.
He shared that over the years, they have planted more than 4.2 million trees and made sure that these are alive. Five percent of which, or more than 200,000 trees, are products of socio-civic partnerships with the DepEd, Kiwanis Club, LGUs and the like.
“We have to do it in the next 12 months–that’s a tall order pero you have to set targets….Lets make it a Palawan-wide thing to keep Palawan green….,” Baylon said when asked on the timeline in reaching the five million trees.