By Tara Yap

ILOILO CITY—Iloilo province recently marked Arbor Day by planting seedlings of a tree bearing its name and that has been donated by its neighboring province of Capiz.

“We will put them in a place where they can have a bigger chance to develop. We need to sustain the trees that had been growing,” said Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor Jr. at the ceremonial planting.

The Iloilo provincial government embarked on “Tanum Iloilo” (Plant Iloilo), which aims to grow 1.5 million native and fruit-bearing trees this year.

It includes100 seedlings of the Iloilo tree, which Governor Esteban Evan Contreras II of Capiz province recently turned over. Contreras attributed part of the success of the Capiz provincial government’s reforestation program to the abundance of Iloilo tree, which they initially did not know until mangrove expert Jurgenne Primavera identified it.

Iloilo Provincial Environmental Chief Arturo Cangrejo said the tree with a scientific name of Aglaia argentea may be the only tree named after a province.

Due to the threat of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), planting of trees are done separately in the 42 towns and component city of Passi by partners in both the private and public sectors. There is also a plan for a simultaneous tree-planting on September.