PBS in Cayabu: Planting trees and Planting the Word
Since the beginning of 2011, the Philippine Bible Society has been rallying Filipinos for the care of creation in the light of God’s Word through this year’s National Bible Week theme: Becoming One Nation in the Stewardship of Creation. In line with this theme, PBS’ Staff Retreat also applied the same where the staff made a commitment to be good stewards of what God has entrusted to us through practicing energy conservation and proper waste management in the workplace and our personal homes, as well as showing love for God’s creation like planting trees and not contributing to pollution.
So last July 16, 2011, PBS fulfilled that commitment by trooping to the mountains of Cayabu, Tanay, Rizal and planted 200 Narra seedlings to help restore the thinning forests there. Mr. Arnold Balitor, DENR Area Coordinator, oriented the 50 PBS employees how to properly plant the seedlings in the ground and provided a short introduction as to what the program is about.
This tree-planting program called the National Greening Program (NGP) was launched by President Benigno S. Aquino III on May 13, 2011 where collaboration of three key national agencies were tapped, namely Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Department of Agriculture, and Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR). This program was implemented in action to the Executive Order No. 26 of President Aquino on February 24, 2011, which is by far “the widest and most sustained reforestation venture ever embarked on a national scale combining the resources and manpower of almost all national line agencies” having the goal of planting 1.5 billion trees to cover about 1.5 million hectares for a period of six (6) years from 2011 to 2016.
After the tree-planting session, the staff walked to the nearby community of Cayabu to distribute calamity portions (Pag-asa sa Gitna ng Trahedya) and selections (Walang Makapaghihiwalay sa Atin sa Pag-ibig ng Diyos) to the residents and share with them the love of God. One resident, a woman in her late 50’s, Nanay Melania, was so happy and grateful for the free Scripture materials given to her. Though she admitted she didn’t know how to read, she was excited to bring home the Scripture materials to her children for them to read it to her.
All in all, this has been a holistic event for the PBS staff. Not only were they able to help restore the forest of Cayabu but it was also a great physical and spiritual activity for them. And for PBS, it has just begun.