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'Greening' of Dagupan road to be next Mt. Makiling ongoing

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(lvmicua/PNA)

DAGUPAN CITY, July 18 -- The Community Environment and Natural Resources (CENRO) has vowed to "green" both sides of the Judge Jose de Venecia Expressway in Dagupan City like the vegetation in Mt. Makiling, using indigenous tree species.

"We would like to convert both sides of the De Venecia Expressway to look like it is as green as Mt. Makiling, said Los Banos, Laguna-born Celso Salazar, the CENRO of central Pangasinan based in Dagupan City.

The Jose de Venecia Expressway Extension is a four-kilometer new highway in Dagupan passing through various fishpond lands raising milkfish.

He said he already brought the idea to Mayor Belen Fernandez who agreed to mobilize employees of the city government to join in the tree-planting program.

Under the program agreed by both parties, CENRO will provide all the tree saplings for planting while the city government will mobilize employees, students and members of non-government organizations to do the planting, as well as provide tree guards.

The coastal De Venecia Expressway Extension stretch is the traditional venue for street party of the Bangus Festival every end of April, Salazar said.

"It is my duty as a citizen and a public servant to provide shade to visitors joining the festivities," he told newsmen here. Salazar now lives with his family in Dagupan.

Planting has started in one part of the road stretch with golden shower while the Rotary Club of which Salazar is a member, as well as the Philippine Dental Association, planted mangroves, locally called "paakar".

The locations needed "greening" are the easement area of the concrete highway, beyond the 15-meter center line on both sides.

To be planted are saplings of bakawan, ipil-ipil, bitaoy, bignay, pugo, banaba and other indigenous tree species, including mangroves, and fruit-bearing trees, Salazar said.

He said they would select a spot in that stretch where the growing trees would not obstruct the power lines.

"In fact, I proposed to Mayor Fernandez to create an arboretum or nursery for indigenous tree species in Dagupan and she promised to look for an area where this will be located," Salazar said.