MMDA giving out fire trees in the wake of #GlendaPH
MANILA, Philippines – The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) is giving away fire trees for free to residents of Metro Manila to replace trees uprooted by Typhoon Glenda (international name Rammasun).
But those interested should not waste any time. The MMDA has only 1,000 fire trees (also known as caballero or flame trees) to give away, according to MMDA Metro Parkway Clearing Group head Francis Martinez.
"This Replace-a-Tree project is to replace all the trees uprooted by the last typhoon. More or less 400 trees were totally damaged," Martinez told Rappler in a phone conversation on Monday, July 21.
The MMDA will start distributing trees to successful applicants starting Wednesday, July 23.
So far, the agency has received many requests, including requests from other typhoon-hit areas like Tagaytay City and Laguna.
But Martinez stressed that the program is only for areas in Metro Manila.
The 1,000 saplings of fire trees were provided by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), he added. The young trees, some already 7 feet tall, are waiting in the MMDA nursery in Barangka, Marikina.
Those interested to replace their uprooted trees may send an email addressed to MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino to email@example.com.
Successful applicants will be asked to sign a one-page agreement in which they will commit to taking care of the trees for at least 30 years.
Though the MMDA is still working out the final details, Martinez said they will likely bring the saplings to the planting site or home of the applicant and even plant the trees themselves.
"This is to make sure the trees will really be planted in Metro Manila. We have Metro Manila residents asking if the trees can be planted in Batangas or Laguna," he said.
Applicants will be taught how to properly take care of the trees. In preparation for future storms, they will also be taught how to prune or cut dangerous branches.
The MMDA chose fire trees as the replacement trees because they are easy to maintain and score high in aesthetic points.
"During summer, they have very beautiful red and orange flowers. They also grow fast," said Martinez.
Trees in general are good for cities because their ability to absorb rain water helps lessen floods, a perennial problem for concrete jungles where water has nowhere to go.
Trees also absorb air pollution and stabilize high temperatures characteristic of cities by providing shade and producing oxygen, said Martinez.
For this reason, the MMDA has pursued other urban greening projects, like planting trees along EDSA from Monumento to Taft, Commonwealth Avenue, and Quezon Avenue.
With Typhoon Glenda gone and more typhoons just around the corner, Martinez said his group continues to clean up debris, including fallen trees, in main and inner roads. They have also begun pruning high trees.
The 700 MMDA employees deployed for post-Glenda cleanup have so far collected more than 120 truckloads or 480 tons of debris, said Martinez. – Rappler.com
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