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Monday, March 4, 2024

A commitment toward sustainable dev’t

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Protecting our environment is our task and obligation if we are to ensure our country’s sustainable development for future generations

About a month ago, the Million Trees Foundation Inc., in collaboration with the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System conducted its annual assessment and planning for the roadmap to 10 million trees by 2030 at the MWSS Bulwagang Plaridel in Quezon City.

Established to ensure and build on the success of the Annual Million Trees Challenge (AMTC), MTFI’s roadmap to plant and nurture 10 million trees more by 2030 was reached during its strategic planning session in 2022.

With the global movement for sustainable development, MTFI is grateful for the active participation of its program partners in the one-day activity.

Representatives from MWSS concessionaires Manila Water Company, Inc., Maynilad Water Services, Inc. and Luzon Clean Water Development Corporation were also in attendance.

Each concessionaire shared their respective best practices in forest and landscape restoration.

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Maynilad tackled its Plant for Life Program while Manila Water discussed its Tree Nurturing Program.

For LCWDC, the newest among the three concessionaires, Government and Public Relations Officer Jobelle C. Bisa gave a presentation of its Tree Planting Program.

LCWDC, a subsidiary of San Miguel Corporation, operates the Bulacan Bulk Water which supplies potable water to municipalities in Bulacan.

It started commercial operations in 2019. In the same year, its tree planting program was also launched.

LCWDC’s tree planting program is anchored on the Malasakit Para sa Kalikasan advocacy pursued by SMC under the leadership of its President and CEO Ramon S. Ang. known as Mr. Malasakit.

Malasakit Para sa Kalikasan is a rallying cry being adopted across the SMC group of companies. SMC has launched programs to protect and rehabilitate the country’s natural resources.

These programs include the rehabilitation of polluted water systems such as the Tullahan and Pasig rivers, and the Marilao-Meycauayan-Obando river system in Bulacan.

Its tree planting programs include Project 747 of SMC Global Power Holdings Corp., Puno ng Buhay of Petron Corporation, Trees Brew Life under San Miguel Brewery, Inc., and Ginebra San Miguel’s Mangrove Project.

Since 2019, SMC has planted more than five million trees in different parts of the country.

Of this number, LCWDC’s tree planting program accounts for 14,400 trees planted in the Angat-Ipo watershed area.

When the program began, LCWDC planted 3,200 trees.

In 2021, the same number of trees was planted.

By 2022, the number increased to 8,000 trees.

Trees planted were narra (Pterocarpus indicus), cacao (Theobroma cacao), kupang (Parkia javanica), and guyabano (Annona muricata).

Survival rates of trees planted by LCWDC were reported by DENR CENRO Guiguinto, Bulacan as 94.2 percent in 2020, 90.4 percent in 2021 and 95.6 percent in 2022.

Being a relatively new organization with less than a hundred employees, LCWDC collaborates with DENR CENRO Guiguinto, Bulacan and Briquettors Association of the Philippines in the conduct of its tree planting program.

The organization heeds recommendation from DENR on the right kind of tree species to be planted.

Prior to planting, sites are prepared; while after care program for planted trees is implemented.

SMC’s Malasakit Para sa Kalikasan as exemplified in its different programs seeks to mitigate the effects of climate change, boost biodiversity, and provide jobs. In the case of LCWDC, job generation benefits the forest dependent communities, especially the Dumagat community in the Angat-Ipo area.

Over all, the goal of SMC’s Malasakit is to improve the quality of life.

Malasakit is evident not only in SMC’s environment protection initiatives but in other CSR programs as well.

RSA once said “Sustainability has always been ingrained in our company culture. We continuously invest on programs that preserve the environment and promote environmental stewardship among various stakeholders.”

For those of us who devote time to advocate the protection, conservation and rehabilitation of our natural resources, we are grateful for organizations like SMC.

Protecting our environment is our task and obligation if we are to ensure our country’s sustainable development for future generations.

(The author is president and executive director of the Million Trees Foundation Inc. He is also a prolific book writer and publisher.)

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