MANILA - The House of Representatives has approved on third and final reading a bill requiring students to plant trees as a prerequisite for graduation.
Dubbed the "Graduation Legacy for the Environment Act," House Bill 8728 aims to require all graduating elementary, high school, and college students to plant at least 10 trees as a prerequisite for graduation.
The bill provides that said trees should be planted in any of the following areas: forest lands, mangrove and protected areas, ancestral domains, civil and military reservations, urban areas under the greening plan of the local government units, inactive and abandoned mine sites, and other suitable lands.
The trees to be planted should also be appropriate to the location, climate and topography of the area, with preference for the planting of indigenous species of trees.
The bill mandates the Department of Education and the Commission on Higher Education to implement the Act, in partnership with the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Department of Agriculture, Department of Agrarian Reform, Department of Budget and Management, Department of Interior and Local Government, Department of Health, Department of Transportation and Communications, Department of National Defense, Department of Science and Technology, Department of Justice, National Commission on Indigenous Peoples, and Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation.
The bill is principally authored by Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano, along with Deputy Minority Leader Joseph Stephen Paduano, Reps. Strike Revilla (2nd District, Cavite), Noel Villanueva (3rd District, Tarlac), Mark Go (Lone District, Baguio City), and Pablo Ortega (1st District, La Union), among others.
For the proposed measure to progress, the Senate must pass its own version of the bill before the two chambers meet in a bicameral conference committee to ratify the legislation. It will be then submitted to the president, who will sign it into law or veto it.