The Osmeña Reforestation Project (ORP), the first and oldest reforestation project in the country, celebrated its 100th year on June 1 at Camp 7, Minglanilla, Cebu.
ORP pioneered researches on the introduction and trial planting of potential reforestation species, setting the foundation to more extensive reforestation efforts in the country.
ORP started on Jan. 13, 1916 with the passage of Act No. 2649, setting aside P10,000 for the reforestation project through the sponsorship of the late President Sergio Osmeña Sr.
Governor Hilario P. Davide III, in his speech during the program, said that the Province of Cebu is willing to partner with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) “in preserving, maintaining and protecting” ORP.
The Cebu Provincial Government through the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources (PENRO) also celebrates Provincial Tree Planting Day every September when the Capitol employees are encouraged to plant trees to help preserve the natural resources of the province.
Davide also considered getting seedlings from ORP for the Provincial Tree Planting Day. He also recommended the place for the Suroy-Suroy sa Sugbo, a tour caravan that literally brings the tourists to the beautiful spots in the towns and component cities in the province of Cebu.
“I will recommend this to our tourism office the Suroy-Suroy Sugbo as an eco-tourism spot for our tourists in the province,” he said.
“We will be be strengthening our Bantay Dagat Program to protect our seas against illegal fishing. We are also setting up measures against quarrying our mountains especially when our forest cover is decreasing. We need to preserve, replant , reforest our areas not only for us but for the future generations,” Davide said in Cebuano.
DENR 7 Regional Director Dr. Isabelo R. Montejo said that DENR will partner with the local government units and the Cebu Provincial Government in planting fruit trees in the ORP area and preventing the cutting the wood trees that are made into charcoal for selling in the market.
“The people in the mountains are hungry. They will cut trees and will make it a charcoal and sell it in Tabunok so I decided to partner with the local government unit (LGU) and Governor Davide to answer this problem,” Montejo said.
He also said that the ORP has a clunal nursery where seedlings of guyabano and cacao can be used to plant fruit trees for the people, maintain the green environment and control erosion.
“We will sit down and plan on how the LGU and national government agencies can protect our forests and address human development, economic needs and environmental protection,” he said.
Meanwhile, Davide, Montejo and Biodiversity, Coastal, Wetlands and Ecotourism Research Center Head Dr. Alicia L. Lustica spearheaded the cutting of ribbon for the inauguration and blessing of the Visayas Tree Center in the area, which will be the research center of the ORP. LEE DE LA CERNA