The Institute for Labor Studies (ILS) employees not only conduct researches that help make “the grass greener” for the Philippine labor and employment sector, they also literally make the country greener by planting trees in disaster-prone areas.
In July 2014, ILS employees planted two hundred (200) Talisay seedlings in MacArthur Landing Park in Brgy. Baras, Palo, Leyte. In its March 2016 on-site visit of the tree planting project. ILS employees Benita Cortez and Marc Raphael Peñarondo found out that about ninety percent (90%) of the planted seedlings have grown normally. This was confirmed by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office – Leyte (DENR PENRO-Leyte).
“Only the strongest trees were left standing here in August 2014, nine (9) months after Typhoon Yolanda devastated this area. Now, what was once a clearing is now populated by the seedlings that are thriving,” said PENRO Officer Ranulfo Q. Arbiol.
The Talisay tree, also called the "Indian almond," "tropical almond" or "sea almond," is native to Southeast Asia. It reaches up to 15 to 25 meters in height, and the trunk grows as big as 1 to 1.5 meters in diameter. It grows best in moist tropical climates, especially in coastal areas, and is well adapted to sandy and rocky coasts. Its tolerance to salt and drought makes it a good choice for reforestation.
“Though some of the seedlings died during summer, ran over by vehicles, and were trampled by people and animals, most of them have grown, and are expected to reach their average height. We also fenced the area and monitor the beachgoers to prevent disruption of the project’s progress,” added Mr. Arbiol.
“We are very glad that the trees are now growing and we hope to continue doing even a small part of our Green Our DOLE and the National Greening Program (NGP) of the government,” said ILS OIC-Executive Director Mary Grace L. Riguer.
The Assessment of Progress Towards the APEC 2020 Forest Cover Goal presented at the 27th APEC Ministerial Meeting in November 2015 mentions the Philippines’ success in its reforestation program. “In the Philippines, a long-term deforestation trend continued up until 2010… since then, the long run deforestation trend has been reversed and by 2015, total forest cover is estimated to have increased from 6.84 million hectares to 8.04 million hectares,” the assessment report stated.
The ILS is also the first attached agency under the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to conduct a mangrove planting project in March 2013.