PANGASINAN — The Green Canopy Project, an initiative led by the provincial government of Pangasinan, has successfully planted 149,964 seedlings across the region from February 1 to December 31, 2023, in a bid to combat deforestation and land degradation.

According to Philippines News Agency, Cooperative and Livelihood Development Office, the project, which aims to plant one million trees and mangroves within three years, is designed to address environmental concerns such as flash floods, soil erosion, and the extreme heat index experienced in Pangasinan, especially during the dry season. In 2022, the region recorded temperatures as high as 55 degrees Celsius.

The initiative saw 98 tree planting activities conducted over the 11-month period, focusing on the restoration of denuded mountains and dry lands through volunteer efforts. A significant portion of the seedlings planted were mangroves in coastal areas, alongside a variety of fruit-bearing trees including tamarind, atis, coffee, jackfruit, avocado, and coconut, as well as bamboo.

Col. Paterno Orduña (ret.), the project manager of the provincial eco-park project in Bugallon slated to open in 2025, highlighted the planting of approximately 8,000 seedlings on a 20-hectare property in the town. Orduña emphasized the project's goal of extending greenery across the entire province, including educational institutions, to foster a widespread culture of environmental preservation. He expressed a particular interest in making the eco-park appealing to all age groups, noting that the youth, as future beneficiaries, play a crucial role in sustaining environmental preservation efforts.

The forthcoming eco-park in Bugallon is set to feature a botanical garden, camping site, picnic grove, and bike trails, enhancing the province's commitment to environmental sustainability and community engagement in conservation efforts.

BELAIT DISTRICT — An Iban family formally converted to Islam during a ceremony held at Kampung Panaga Seria National Housing Scheme in the Belait District this afternoon.

According to Radio Television Brunei, the head of the family, 41-year-old Sebester Demu Anak Uli, adopted the name Muhammad Sulaiman bin Abdullah Uli upon his conversion. His wife, 40-year-old Zuriah Binti Bundan, chose the name Nur Rania Zahra binti Muhammad Sofian for herself. Their children, aged 18 and 16, also selected Islamic names during the ceremony. Pengiran Dato Seri Paduka Haji Mohammad Tashim Bin Pengiran Haji Hassan, Deputy Minister of Religious Affairs, was among the dignitaries in attendance. Since the beginning of the year, 25 individuals have embraced Islam, with 12 of them hailing from the Belait District.

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