In celebration of the Philippine Arbor Day, the Department of Justice gave for free fruit-bearing trees and vegetables seedlings and seeds to its employees today, 23 June 2021. This project was spearheaded by Assistant Secretary Margaret V. Castillo-Padilla, the Asec-in-charge of the Environment Cluster of the Department. Asec Padilla partnered with the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) through the office of its Director, Dr. George Y. Culaste. The BPI donated to the Department 483 fruit-bearing seedlings of madre cacao, tamarind, guava, guyabano, caimito, and passion fruit, 256 vegetable seedlings of upland kangkong and pechay, and 100 packs of mustard, radish and squash seeds. A total of 156 employees lined up, some of them even before the start of the distribution, to get their respective seedlings of choice.
According to Asec Padilla, this project was conceptualized at the onset of the mushrooming community pantries in the county. But instead of giving free canned and other essential goods, she decided to give free seeds and seedlings taking into consideration that a lot of people have turned into gardening and planting as a soothing hobby when Metro Manila was placed under ECQ. Thus, instead of the usual planting of trees, the Department celebrated the Philippine Arbor Day through this alternative activity that still fosters love for nature and care for the environment amongst its employees.
Asec Padilla hopes that this will be the start of a lasting partnership with the BPI.