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    Army troop leads celebration of World Indigenous Peoples day in gigantic tree planting March

    By Ferdinandh Cabrera
    August 10, 2014
    Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao, Philippines--- More than one thousand individuals has joined the massive tree planting activity as part of commemoration of the celebration of International Day of the Worlds Indigenous Peoples.
    A 6th Army Division led tree planting, huge number of military and police personnel, civil society groups, workers from the government and private sectors, youth and children joined the foot march to Dimapatoy Mountain where participants walked around four kilometers from the jump off point of the water facility, bringing around seedlings of Mahogany, Bamboo and Antipolo.
    Brigadier General Edmundo Pangilinan, commander of the 6th division said the event was a “triple treat”.
    He cited first, it is their share in commemorating the International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples which is observed on August 9.
    Second, foot march is part of basic soldier’s course, a back to basic skills where he joined his troops this time.
    And third, it is taking part of enriching the source of drinking waters in the nearby environment and protection against global warming.
    “I never expected that we were joined by those thousands of individuals who had shown interest and care for the mother earth and Indigenous Peoples day, it really feels good especially with those smiles despite tiring experience and sweats I witnessed with the participants”, he said.
    A surprising guest who joined the short walking and planting was former Cotabato City Mayor and Moro National Liberation Front chairman Muslimin Sema, who uttered while cuing his bamboo seedling in the hole, “ this should serve as tree of peace just like seedlings planted by others”, he said.
    Aveen Gulo, project Manager of Indigenous Peoples Development Program (IPDev) based here in Mindanao whose group joined the celebration describe the tree planting as significant to the Indigenous Peoples who are celebrating their international day.
    “Trees are essential to forests, the forest that protect us from landslides. Floods, climate change and other disasters, without forest we are nothing”, she said.

    The Balik-Kalikasan Advocacy Group, a decade advocates of environmental protection thru planting of trees was full force during the event.
    The group is composed of army personnel, academe, media, DENR, civil society groups has provided 300 Antipolo seedlings as one of its signature seedlings.
    The International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples is observed on August 9 each year to promote and protect the rights of the world’s indigenous population.
    This event also recognizes the achievements and contributions that indigenous people make to improve world issues such as environmental protection.
    It was first pronounced by the General Assembly of the United Nations in December 1994, marking the day of the first meeting of the UN Working Group on Indigenous Populations of the Subcommission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights, in 1982.# end
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