President Bongbong Marcos launched the National Simultaneous Bamboo and Tree Planting Kick-off Ceremony with the theme, “Buhayin ang Pangangalaga sa Kalikasan” at the Old San Mateo Sanitary Landfill in Rizal.

The President was joined by Department of Interior and Local Government Secretary Benhur Abalos, Department of Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Toni Yulo Loyzaga, Rizal Province Governor Nina Ynares, Rizal 3rd District Congressman Jojo Garcia and former Rizal Governor Ito Ynares.

The President called on the Filipino citizenry to unite in preserving the environment a key tenet of the Ynares administration in Rizal Province.

“The challenges we hurdled in recent years highlighted the fact that we have just one earth. We must spare no effort to ensure that it survives in the years to come,” he said.

The President planted a seedling of Kawayan Tinik (spiny or thorny bamboo) on the former dumpsite saying the activity was conducted symbolically at the site which is currently being rehabilitated.

“It is a reminder for us to see past our personal interests and have the future in sight. It is a reminder for us to move beyond our obstacles and act with love and compassion for our fellow Filipinos,” he said to the assembled government employees, members of civil society and non-government organizations (NGOs), active and reserve uniformed personnel and other voluntary groups.

“Your presence in the selected areas across the country shows your commitment to prioritize Mother Earth and encourage everyone to unite for her benefit”.

The President was presented with a cake to celebrate his birthday and serenaded with a birthday song. He also received a wooden sculpture made of Philippine hardwood guiho by a Rizalian homegrown talent, Agi Pagkatipunan.

The aim is to cover 11.6 hectares of the former landfill with planted seedlings as part of the DENR’s National Greening Program (NGP), the country’s biggest reforestation project.