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TREES

“Poems are made by fools like me, But only God can make a tree.”

Twinkling with Ninfa R. Leonardia

Those lines from poet Joyce Kilmer immediately came to my mind upon reading the news that appeared in the DAILY STAR yesterday about the cutting of trees along Bacolod’s main street, Araneta, that apparently did not have the knowledge or approval of the proper authorities. I hope there is a law that will penalize those responsible. As a wise man, a very rich one, once told his architects and engineers who suggested the cutting of some  trees for his  multi-storied building, “ A building we can have in a month or even a year, but you cannot  grow a tree in less than ten.”

***

The incident is so appalling, I hope all our towns and cities will make it a point to pass resolutions making it criminal to cut down trees without applying for authority to do so from the officials of the place. It was good that the city officials have moved to investigate how the cutting of the trees happened, but then, the deed has been done, nobody can replant them anymore. I hope our councilors will take a move to, well, “inventory” the existing trees in the city and warn those living in their neighborhood that they need to have government permission to cut them down.

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I hope that does not constitute infringement on people’s right of ownership, but when you consider the benefits trees bring to the environment, and even to the health of residents, they might consider it. I had a newspaperman friend from the Manila media who called me up right upon landing back in Manila, only to tell me how green and beautiful Bacolod looked from the sky, with most houses surrounded by greens! I hope this will encourage our people to grow more trees, and have move respect for them.

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So,  if you have a tree, or even trees in your area, please love  and respect them because they do not only beautify your place, they can also protect your health and well-being . Of course, a growing city like ours needs a lot of space, but think of those countries where very rich people even attempt to grow trees on their rooftops, just to have some greenery around them. By the way, what happened to Arbor Day? When I was in elementary school, I remember celebrating that day by planting trees. But we have since left that area and big buildings have taken over.

***

But our problem these days exceed even the longing for trees and their protection. Around the world, people are worrying and suffering from a pandemic, and adding to that lately are the possibility that hostilities may arise among or between some countries, which naturally, could affect us, even if we are not ourselves involved. As I have quoted before there is a saying that “When giants fight, the pygmies tremble”.  And we are the pygmies, we must admit. And all we can do is pray that hostilities will not arise among the giants, especially at this time of a raging pandemic.

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Do the ongoing controversies involving the medicines for COVID 19 not puzzle you? It seems that when one is introduced, some controversy comes up questioning its efficacy and detailing serious after-effects, like blood clots, etc. Is there an ongoing war among producers of cures for this mysterious COVID? At this point, my greatest curiousity is to know how it has affected China, where it originally came from. So far, we have not heard or seen on TV any reports concerning COVID from there. If they have found an effective, 100 percent cure for it, shouldn’t they be sharing it with the rest of the stricken world? Just asking.

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But it is inspiring to know that pandemic or no pandemic, the Olympic Games scheduled to be held in Tokyo this year, will go on. That’s the spirit! I wonder, though, if all participating countries are preparing for it. Their sports officials may not be enthusiastic or their  athletes not ready for lack of the continuous training that participation in such a huge international event requires. So let us help by praying that this pandemic will be conquered soon and the games and all other healthful activities can go on.

***

Let us include the people of India in our prayers. The  latest report from that country says that it had, as of Wednesday, 14,000 cases of COVID 19, with 200,000 infections recorded daily. And this is being attributed to the attendance of so many people at a recent festival where several caught the virus, and unknowingly passed them to their families and friends as well as co-workers. Now, the report added, the banquet halls of hotels and restaurants have been converted into hospitals with the number of stricken patients still growing. Let us, therefore, take a cue from that, and postpone these festivals and celebrations for as long as you can. Wait for better, COVID-free days and keep praying.*

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