Philippine lawmakers pass bill requiring students to plant 10 trees before they can graduate

Philippine lawmakers pass bill requiring students to plant 10 trees before they can graduate
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A new measure in the Philippines will require all graduating students to plant 10 trees before they can graduate.

The bill, called the Graduation Legacy For the Environment Act, was approved by the island nation's House and now heads to its Senate, Forbes reported Wednesday.

The legislation codifies a tradition of planting trees upon graduation, according to the Independent, and aims to combat climate change.

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“To this end, the educational system shall be a locus for propagating ethical and sustainable use of natural resources among the young,” the bill states.

If enacted, the bill would require students to plant species of trees that are “appropriate to the location, climate and topography of the area with preference for the planting of indigenous species.” 

The nation’s Department of Education and Commission on Higher Education would also be tasked with working alongside the government’s environmental and agricultural agencies, among others, to oversee and manage the effort.

The bill states it will take effect 15 days "after its publication in the Official Gazette or in newspaper of general circulation."

Representative Gary Alejano, the author of the bill, told Forbes that he estimates one generation of the bill would be responsible for 525 billion trees planted. The outlet reported that more than 12 million students in the Philippines graduate from elementary school annually, along with 5 million from high school and 500,000 from college — meaning roughly 175 million new trees would be planted each year.

The outlet noted that deforestation has been a key environmental issue in the Pacific island nation due to development and agriculture. 

According to Forbes, forested area in the Philippines declined from 70 percent to 20 percent during the 20th century.