COTABATO CITY ― Bangsamoro lawmakers are championing a new measure that mandates all beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) in the region to plant and nurture fruit-bearing trees to address environmental concerns, increase food security, and boost the local economy.
The Parliament Bill No. 244, or the Bangsamoro Tree Planting Act of 2023, requires 4Ps beneficiaries to cultivate a minimum of 10 fruit-bearing trees every month for the next 10 years.
According to the principal authors of the bill, this move will not only promote environmental conservation but also ensure that the Bangsamoro people have access to nutritious, locally grown fruits, as well as drive economic growth in the local communities.
They emphasize that the measure will also safeguard future generations from consuming genetically modified organism (GMO) foods by encouraging the cultivation of organic, locally sourced fruits.
Under the proposed measure, beneficiaries lacking private land for tree planting can utilize various alternative locations, including forested areas, ancestral domains, civil and military reservations, urban spaces, inactive and abandoned mine sites, roadside areas, and other suitable lands.
The authors of the bill also highlighted that the initiative aligns with the Enhanced 12-Point Priority Agenda of the BARMM Chief Minister for 2023–2025, focusing on Agri-Fishery Productivity and Food Security, Self-Reliance and Disaster Resilience, and Climate Change Adaptation.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has identified tree planting as a crucial strategy employed by countries worldwide to mitigate the adverse effects of climate change.
Once the bill is enacted into law, the Ministry of Social Services and Development will lead its implementation, collaborating with various ministries, agencies, and stakeholders.
PB No. 244 is a collaborative initiative of MPs Abdulaziz Amenodin, Amroussi Macatanong, and Michael Midtimbang. MPs Said Sheik, Ali Solaiman, Haron Abas, Abdulwahab Pak, Abdullah Macapaar, Susana Anayatin, Mohammad Kelie Antao, Tawakal Midtimbang, Ali Montaha Babao, Mosber Alauddin, Dan Asnawe, Tarhata Maglangit, and Khalid Ma-amor Hadji Abdullah are co-authors. (LTAIS-Public Information, Publication, and Media Relations Division)