The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Philippines showed its support for the launch of Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage Systems’ (MWSS) Annual Million Tree Challenge at the Ipo Dam on June 23, two days before Arbor Day — a day dedicated to planting trees.
The Challenge, which aims to annually plant, maintain, and nurture one million trees for five years for the benefit of six watersheds, is a staunch declaration of MWSS’ commitment to pursue and take on an active role in the advocacy on water conservation and protecting the environment. The mentioned watershed beneficiaries, which are central to Metro Manila’s source of drinking water, are Umiray, Angat, Ipo, La Mesa, Marikina, and Laguna.
This five-year endeavor also seeks not only to reforest and regenerate the mentioned watersheds’ ecosystems but also to protect them to ensure environmental stability that leads to the achievement of the clean and water potable water requirements of the 25 million residents of Metro Manila.
WWF-Philippines President and CEO Joel Palma said that MWSS’ Annual Million Tree Challenge is very much aligned with WWF-Philippines’ Forests for Water project at the Ipo Watershed, which aims to go beyond the usual tree-planting activities and expand towards the direction of managing forests and wetlands to ensure that the planted trees will actually grow to provide benefits to the environment and various stakeholders. On top of the reforestation of denuded areas are both the rehabilitation and enhancement of existing forests and wetlands with the help of the Dumagat residents in the area, as well as corporate partners like Coca-Cola Philippines, Nestle, BDO, Sun Life, Samsung, and National Geographic.
“The work that WWF-Philippines has been doing at the Ipo Watershed entails the management of 1,038 hectares of land within the watershed’s 7,000-hectare area to help sustainably secure the source of water for more than 12 million people living in Metro Manila. We are honored to be a part of this initiative by MWSS, which we believe can help us achieve the goals that we have set when we started the Forests for Water project,” Palma stated. He also added that WWF-Philippines has committed 37,000 seedlings this year, 50,000 for both 2018 and in 2019, and 50,000 more per year in the succeeding years.
The Annual Million Challenge is in partnership with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), local government units, private companies, and civic organizations.