On the eve of Arbor Day and to cap the Environment Month, the Annual Million Tree Challenge, a reforestation project of the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System, has surpassed its one-million target on its maiden year as multisectoral stakeholders pledged some 1.8 million trees during the kick-off launch at Ipo Dam on June 23, 2017.
“This Annual One-Million Tree Challenge serves as a way to protect our six targetted watersheds namely La Mesa, Ipo, Angat, Umiray, Laguna Lake and Marikina River,” said MWSS Administrator Reynaldo V. Velasco. “But this can’t be done over five years. We are hopeful that through this noble project and the steady support of everyone particularly our three concessionaires—Maynilad, Manila Water and Bulacan Bulk Water—we will be able to protect our vital water sources, prevent flooding and mitigate other natural disasters.”
The MWSS annual million tree challenge is aimed at planting million trees in five years under the Duterte administration.
Two weeks ago, the project had an initial pledge of 1,050,000 trees but is now close to two million committed trees for this year alone.
Present at the kick-off event on Friday were Manila Water President Ferdinand M. De La Cruz, Maynilad president Ramoncito Fernandez, MWSS-RO Chief Regulator Joel C. Yu, ABS-CBN Bantay Kalikasan managing director Susan Bautista-Afan, Philippine Water Works Association (PWWA) president Eulogio Agatep, UP Mountaineers vice-president Patricia Carmela Pangatungan, WWF president and CEO Jose Angelito Palma, and representatives from the DENR-NCR, DENR REG-IV OIC, San Miguel Corporation, Department of Education, and Wild Bird Photographers of the Philippines.
The Department of Natural Resources National Greening Program through Regional Director Millia—which originally committed 66,000 trees —upped the agency’s share to 500,000 trees, and San Miguel Corporation through Bulacan Bulk Water with initial commitment of 100,000 trees added 200,00 more trees to be planted for a total of 300,000 trees.
Aside from DENR Region-NGP and SMC, participating agencies included MWSS who committed a total of 50,000 trees; MWSS RO at 20,000; Manila Water at 130,000; Maynilad Water Services at 130,000; ABS-CBN Bantay Kalikasan at 140,000; DENR NCR at 30,000; DENR Region IVA at 204,000; DEPED / CHED at 100,000; PWWA at 20,000; World Wide Fund Philippines (WWF) at 37,000; UP Mountaineers Society at 500; Municipality of General Nakar, Quezon at 100,000; and Wild Bird Photographers of the Philippines at 500 trees.
The Department of Education through Undersecretary Alain Pascua has thrown its full support to the MWSS Annual Million Tree Challenge and vowed to recommend to DepEd Secretary Leonor Briones to engage public school to plant trees in the targetted six watershed areas.
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