STATEMENT from the Organizers

of TreeVolution: Greening Mindanao

September 30, 2013

We express our heartfelt gratitude and appreciation to all those who participated in the successful conduct of TreeVolution: Greening MindaNOW.

It is without doubt, September 26, 2014 will go down in Mindanao history as the largest mobilization of volunteers across regions, sectors and cultures under one goal—make Mindanao green again.

As of today, we have counted a total of 3,517,489 seedlings and propagules planted across 260 locations in six regions by some 189,755 volunteers, even involving those in conflict-affected communities. In fact, the magnitude of response in some areas was overwhelming with volunteers exceeding the expected number of participants.

In Marilog District, Davao City for instance, about 13,000 volunteers showed up, which more than doubled the expected number of participants, majority of whom are students and members of the academe sector.

The event was worth the unity and efforts and we laud all the hard work and dedication of the volunteers and the staff for showing that Mindanao does stand a chance of recovering its lost ground—our once rich forest cover.

A re-greened Mindanao contributes to enhancing our ecosystem, increasing energy security, agro-forestry productivity, jobs opportunity, improved quality of life and furthering our climate resiliency.

While breaking a world record was a recognized motivating factor for the event, it has been amply emphasized that the success of TreeVolution was beyond Guinness attempt.

Although the response was truly overwhelming, we regret that there were those who had to endure physical challenges in carrying out such a noble task. In some planting sites, it turned out that reaching the area by several kilometers walk rather than by trucks was the safest mode given the circumstances. It was a decision made on that instance to principally avoid possible catastrophic pitfalls from slippery terrain.

We offer our sincerest apologies to those who went through such physical challenges. While incidents such as exhaustion and injury could be expected in a massive onsite activity such as this one, it was evident that safety and emergency medical response mechanisms by the Philippine National Police, Central 911 (in Davao area), Armed Forces of the Philippines, Local Emergency Response Teams, Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Councils, and the Traffic Management Group were on hand to provide quick action.

As organizers of the TreeVolution, a composite team of MinDA and DENR had been coordinating with the families and schools of those who went through physical exhaustion, while assisting those who needed further medical attention. A series of fora will be done in the next few weeks in those schools to endeavor reflections among students, and communicate on the next steps of nurturing the trees they planted.

While we await the final and official results of the TreeVolution, the overwhelming turnout of support was already a reassuring measure of success. Certainly, there were lessons learned and we took note of those to guide us in this continuing endeavor.

To all the volunteers, thank you for believing in yourselves. Your involvement has made this historic event even more meaningful. TreeVolution has showed one overwhelming reaffirmation---that Mindanawons can truly unite for a common good, and on this day---we became one for the environment.#
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