The Ipo Watershed supplies fresh water to millions of residents in Metro Manila and neighboring provinces, but decades of illegal environmental activities have destroyed over half of its vegetation. Samsung Philippines employees, however, recently trooped to the site in Norzagaray, Bulacan to participate in efforts to save it.
The project was an initiative under Love and Care, the annual employee volunteer program for the tech giant’s subsidiaries in the Southeast Asia and Oceania region.
Love and Care began in 2015 with an outreach program for the Pann Pyo Let Monastic School in Myanmar, which was joined by over 50 Samsung employees from across the region. In 2016, about 60 employees participated in a teaching activity for over 2,000 children in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
Today, Samsung Philippines leads the implementation of Love and Care activities in the country, with programs centered around the Environment, Community and Health, and Quality Education.
“We take community service seriously. It is just as important as technological innovation and business achievements. Samsung Love and Care is a global activity, and we want to build off the success of the program in Myanmar and Cambodia in the last two years here,” said President and CEO Kevin Lee.
Lee personally participated in the rehabilitation activity at the Ipo Watershed, which was organized in partnership with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).
He and other Samsung executives, including Human Resources Director Silver Fungo, Jr. and Consumer Electronics Trade Marketing Director Jupi Guibone, joined volunteers from Samsung Philippines’ various departments in tree planting.
“Ipo Watershed is part of a network that supplies freshwater to more than 12 million residents of Metro Manila and its neighboring provinces. The watershed’s condition is alarming; only 40 percent of its forest cover remains after decades of illegal activities,” said Twyla David, Samsung Philippines Head of Corporate Citizenship.
“With the current state of Ipo, tree planting activities alone cannot save it. We also need to make sure that the trees survive, the vegetation and other ground covers are maintained, and stakeholders are given enough power to implement proper management practices,” David added.
The event was only the first leg of Samsung’s engagement in the WWF’s environmental programs, which is divided into three phases to ensure sustainability.
Apart from the volunteer engagement at the Ipo Watershed, WWF and SEPCO are also developing tablet-based teaching modules on biodiversity, climate change, and sustainable lifestyles.
WWF is training SEPCO volunteers to become environmental coordinator-teachers. They will guide a group of educators in mentoring communities about conservation, targeting ten public elementary schools and around 500 households.
“We are grateful for Samsung’s support in our endeavors. Seeing the volunteers’ hard work and dedication inspires us to continue making a positive change for the environment. We are looking forward to more partnerships with the company,” said WWF Philippines CEO and President Joel Palma.
Samsung Love and Care will explore other activities in the Philippines this year. “We are excited to collaborate with more organizations for our future Love and Care programs,” said David.