by Justine Marie Bernardo

The Save Sierra Madre Network Alliance: Pagpapanumbalik sA Dating kaaYusan ng kAliKasan known as PADYAK, held a mass and lecture program that made the Bulakenyos conscious about the condition of Sierra Madre, last June 30, at the ICSB grounds in Malolos.

                   The Sierra Madre Cross, which symbolizes the wakeup call for the people to help restore and preserve mountain range, was brought from a place to another. From Cagayan, where the cross was made, it was sent to Manila, Quezon, Marikina, Angat, and now, Malolos. The cross will be staying in the Malolos Cathedral for a few days and after, it will be sent off to Caloocan and Cubao.

                     Fr. Pete Montellana, the chief person of Sierra Madre Network Alliance, explained the history and importance of the said event. He said the group was formed last April 19, 2009 and it all started as an activity. But when the Typhoon Ondoy destructed and killed many Filipinos last 2009, the activity became a tradition.

                  The Sierra Madre Cross was made by the Ifugaos out of pieces of the woods that were illegally logged. They formed the cross which symbolizes the alarming situation of the mountains and forests we have now.

                 “Sinimulan namin ito dahil gusto naming ipaalam sa mga tao ang nangyayari. Kasi may mga tao ring natatakot dahil ayaw nilang ipaglaban ang kanilang karapatan na tumutol sa pagmimina."  Fr. Montellana added. He said that the project is non-government.

                   Ms. Tessie Calayag, 64 years old, a member of Dioceses of Environment and Ecological Program or DEEP, admitted that she never thought of be joining this project. But as days passed, she realized that everything was really in His lead.

                “Malaki ang pag-asa na maisalba ang Sierra Madre.”  Ms. Calayag added. She believes that the present generation will be the ones to save and continue their project.

                        For the past year, many Kawayan trees were planted in Marilao and Meycauayan and this year they planned to hold a Tree Planting Rite in Sierra Madre in September 26, 2012. Everyone is encouraged to join to the Planting Rite.

                       Marvin Santos, a volunteer cyclist, joined the procession because he also wanted to promote a healthy living and a good environment. He also added that he’s also willing to attend the tree planting on September 26. 

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