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Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Partners, stakeholders recognized

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“MTFI recognizes the contributions of its partners and stakeholders in attaining its objective to rehabilitate critical watersheds through reforestation and tree-planting activities”

A FITTING event to cap the celebration of Philippine Environment Month as the Million Trees Foundation, Inc. and Metropolitan Waterworks Sewerage System honored partners and stakeholders during the second Annual Million Trees Challenge Recognition and Pledging Session 2024 last July 1.

AMTC has been consistent in meeting its target of one million trees planted annually. Ensuring this success necessitated the establishment of the Million Trees Foundation in 2021.

MTFI recognizes the contributions of its partners/stakeholders in attaining its objective to rehabilitate critical watersheds through reforestation and tree-planting activities.

Financial support was extended to MTFI by San Miguel Corporation’s Chairman and CEO Ramon S. Ang, Maynilad, Manila Water, and new institutional partners QBE and Grundfos.

The AMTC Champion of Trees award is given to partners and stakeholders who have planted 25,000 trees or more for 2023.

Recipients of the award were: DENR 4A who leads the list with 288,360 trees planted, Maynilad Water Services, Inc. (222,280), Laguna Lake Development Authority (148,182), World Wide Fund for Nature PH (125,200), Manila Water Company, Inc. (118,000), National Power Corporation (86,750), MWSS CO (80,000), Luzon Water Development Corporation (60,000), Professional Regulation Commission (43,926), LGU of General Nakar (42,284), DENR R3 (37,227), ABS-CBN Foundation, Inc. (36,920), MWSS RO (26,000), and DENR NCR.

Recognized with individual awards called Kampeon ng TubigKanlungan were General Nakar Mayor Eliseo R. Ruzol, DENR NCR Executive Director Jacqueline Caancan, DENR CALABARZON Executive Director Nilo Tamoria, Maynilad President & CEO Ramoncito Fernandez;

Manila Water President & CEO Jose Emmanuel Victor De Dios, Don Ramon S. Ang, and Sta. Clara International Corp. Chairman & Managing Director Nicandro Linao.

The awardees showed dedication and commitment to boost the advocacy of the AMTC and MTFI through their exemplary leadership — in developing and implementing management initiatives in restoring, protecting and conserving beneficiary watersheds.

For its Institutional Awards, Plaques of Recognition under Nature Heroes were given to Maynilad Water Services, Inc., Manila Water Company, Inc. and Grundfos Philippines;

QBE Group Shared Services, Inc. was awarded the Eco Guardians category while San Miguel Corporation garnered the award as Champion of Nature. Also recognized was Sta. Clara International Corporation.

Special awards were given to ABS-CBN Foundation, Inc – Bantay Kalikasan, Dr. Cesar Quiambao, Rotary Metro East Taytay PP Jose Rommel Mina, PSE-Tourung Kalikasan, Philippine Bamboo Industry Development Council, and JCI Sen. Victor Jose Luciano, the first Green Army Brigade Commander.

Coinciding with the recognition/awarding ceremony was the pledging session that generated 2.7 million trees to be planted, the biggest so far in AMTC’s history – more than the 1.36 million trees pledged last year.

The pledges came from 31 partners with Dr. Cesar Quiambao’s commitment of 700,000 trees topping the list.

DA/Philippine Bamboo Industry Development Council committed to plant at least 500,000 while DENR 4A pledged to plant 400,000 more.

Looking back to 2017 when we held the tree-planting kickoff activity at Ipo watershed led by then MWSS Administrator and AMTC Gen.  Reynaldo V. Velasco , pledges reached 1.5 million trees, from the initial 1,050,000 pledges two weeks earlier.

Since then, the pledges were never fewer than one million trees except of course during the COVID years

MWSS Administrator Engr. Leonor Cleofas welcomed the attendees, saying the event “highlights our pledge to address the critical need to preserve our natural resources for future generations.”

DA Undersecretary Deogracias Victor Savellano, keynote speaker, said AMTC “embodies the spirit of unity and determination that transcends borders and unites people from all of walks of life.”

He added each tree planted “represents not only a tangible contribution to combatting climate change but also a symbol of hope and renewal of community systems worldwide.”

Savellano, vice chairman of the Philippine Bamboo Industry Development Council, encouraged utilizing bamboo seedlings in tree-planting activities and reforestation.

In his message Maynilad President Ramoncito Fernandez reaffirmed Maynilad’s commitment to AMTC and dedication to ensuring a sustainable and resilient water supply for the communities it serves.

“We pledge to reforest a total of 450 hectares of forestlands in the Ipo, Kaliwa and La Mesa watersheds, planting 220,000 seedlings,” he said.

MTFI is grateful to partners/stakeholders committed to help attain the goal of 10 million trees more in 2030.

As MTFI looks forward to help benefit other critical watersheds, it acknowledges more collaboration is needed for environmental sustainability.

(The author is the president and executive director of the Million Trees Foundation Inc., a non-government outfit advocating tree-planting and environmental protection.)

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