Typhoons and floods are something we have to contend with each year. It's part of living in the Philippines. Last year, however, a trio of storms battered the country, affecting thousands of lives and destroying hectares of agricultural lands. As a result, the prices of vegetables have risen sharply over the months. One of the main causes of the widespread flooding? Deforestation in flood-prone areas.

To prevent a similar event from happening again, the government has begun reforestation programs. To help with the reforestation efforts, one lawmaker wants dealerships to plant trees for each vehicle sold.

Hon. Luis Raymund “LRAY” Villafuerte recently filed House Bill 8337, “An Act Requiring All Dealers, Retailers, and Similar Entities Engaged In The Sale of Motor Vehicles to Plant At Least Ten (10) Trees For Every Sales Transaction” or shortened to “Mandatory Tree Planting for Every Motor Vehicle Sales Act”. As the name of the house bill implies, each vehicle sold by a dealer translates to ten trees being planted.

Interestingly, it's not only manufacturers that are required by the bill. Even private importers and gray market dealers will have to plant trees too. Reading the fine print, Section 3b says that “Dealer or retailer refers to any person, natural or juridical, that sell new motor vehicles to retail buyers and the public”. The requirement of tree planting should also be accomplished within six months from the date of the sales transaction.

Not all new vehicles sold at dealerships are required to plant trees. Specifically, only four-wheeled passenger vehicles are included in the proposed tree planting bill. Motorcycles, trucks, and forklifts, bulldozers, and other heavy equipment are exempted. The specific trees to be planted and the location shall be also coordinated with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). So no, they can't just plant trees anywhere and call it a day.

At the moment, the “Mandatory Tree Planting for Every Motor Vehicle Sales Act” has to pass the first reading. If signed into law, we might just see more trees growing in the country. Should the local auto industry bounces back, imagine the number of trees that each dealer will be able to plant.