It’s becoming a challenge to find open areas in a highly urbanized metropolis like Surigao City where one can plant trees. But the Rotarians in the City led by the Rotary Club of Metro Surigao Foundation Inc., committed to plant 1M trees and their initial experience had them wanting for more.
Together with family members and friends—with the theme “Rotary Connects the World”—Rotarians from Surigao City, travelled recently to the adjacent Dinagat Islands to a tree-planting adventure in a mined-out area at Cagdianao Mining Corp.
“In one day alone, all 139 of us, including our children, relatives and friends, planted 2200 trees under an hour. We felt we could do more. We felt we connected with the world indeed. It was very motivating,” relayed Rotary Club of Surigao City president, Louie Chua.
When people hear of a “tree-planting activity” they may think it all but fun and, to some, one for a good ‘FB-moment’ but there must be a clear purpose for such activity to even take off.
First, it was a huge task to gather a group of professionals and various individuals who are among the busiest and most active members of the community—doctors, lawyers, teachers, housewives, entrepreneurs, government employees and the likes—to donate time and efforts to join a trip just to plant trees. After all, Dinagat Island is an hour away by boat from Surigao City and to reach the CMC mine site is an additional hour by land plus another boat ride.
CMC is spearheading this ‘tree-planting adventure’ to showcase the mining company’s Environment Protection Enhancement Program (EPEP) and to help build a community of tree-planters by enjoining equally enthusiastic environmentalists such as the members of the Rotary Club to come to the mine site to plant trees.
CMC Resident Mine Manager, Engr. Arnilo Milaor, says Nickel Asia Corp (NAC) and all its subsidiaries, which includes CMC, is mandated to initiate these kinds of collaborative efforts with other organizations and government agencies.
“This is in relation with the National Greening Program of the government. We are opening the doors to Cagdianao Mining for everyone to experience the operations of a responsible mining company and to be educated on the benefits of regularly planting trees,” explained Milaor.
He added that CMC has signed a Memorandum of Agreement with the Rotary Club of Metro Surigao and has committed to provide the Rotarians what they need especially healthy planting materials and access to areas waiting to be planted with all sorts of trees.
CMC also provided the group with a thorough orientation on the mining company’s rehabilitation programs in Dinagat Islands and in-depth lessons on climate change adaptations, biodiversity conservation, reforestation, food security for the communities, among other things, as mandated by law.
“The Rotarians are leading by example. The experience was a crusade of sort that required each of the participants to go out of his/her way and make time to plant a tree at least once every month. This is one way we can help direct the course of the future to a better and healthier environment,” explained Dr. Romulo Ybiernas, CMC’s Resident Physician, who is also an active Rotarian.
There are 4 Rotary Clubs in Surigao City under District 3860 – Rotary Club of Metro Surigao; Rotary Club of Central Surigao; Rotary Club of Surigao City; and Rotary Club of Surigao Midtown Jewels.
Phoebe Alac, CMC Environmental Manager, said that there are a lot of complex lessons on the benefits of regularly planting trees and a lot more lessons about responsible mining that can only be taught by experience.
“That is why we want as many members of the communities as possible to visit to see for themselves how CMC is successfully rehabilitating the areas in an active mine site,” she said.