One Meralco Foundation (OMF) has teamed up with more organizations to further its sustainable reforestation program aimed at contributing to environmental preservation and improvement of the lives of more Philippine communities.
The social development arm of Meralco signed a Memorandum of Agreement with Butuan City Water District (BCWD), Fostering Education and Environmental Development (FEED), and Participatory Research Organization of Communities and Education towards Struggle for Self-Reliance of Bohol (PROCESS Bohol) for the One For Trees (OFT) program.
Under the OFT program, OMF provides funding for reforestation activities such as the establishment of nurseries, planting of seedlings during the appropriate season, and continued monitoring of the trees planted. OMF plans to nurture and protect at least 5 million trees by 2025 while providing sustainable livelihood to communities around conservation sites.
The new partnerships will expand the reach of the program to the provinces of Agusan del Norte; Laguna; and parts of Bohol. The new OFT partners have identified specific targets to help their respective communities.
BCWD, from the province of Agusan del Norte, will plant 48,000 trees in the Taguibo Watershed to sustain the forest reserve in the watershed enabling quality water supply for the people of Butuan City.
FEED, on the other hand, targets to plant 100,000 trees in the Laguna-Quezon Land Grant site in Siniloan, Laguna which is planned to be developed as a major biodiversity hub in the Sierra Madre mountain range.
Meanwhile, PROCESS Bohol will rehabilitate upland and coastal forest patches damaged by the rampage of Typhoon Odette in Anda, Pilar, Ubay, Candijay, Mabini, and Carlos P. Garcia in Bohol. Through OFT, PROCESS Bohol plans to nurture 100,000 trees of which 50,000 are mangroves.
For OMF, with the help of these organizations, OFT can deliver a sustainable solution to the environmental and economic needs of marginal communities.
The OFT is a long-term commitment to the environment and the people, which is anchored on sustaining partnerships with Civil Society Organizations, Local Government Units, and communities – a pledge to collectively work for climate action.
“Some may see our efforts as a mere tree-planting, tree-growing, or tree-nurturing with a very high survival rate target. Yes, we require those. But more importantly, One For Trees also invests in building the capacities and improving the economic welfare and social well-being of the people who maintain these trees and ensures that the same trees will also benefit their own families and communities.” said Meralco Chief CSR Officer and OMF President Jeffrey O. Tarayao.
“Most of the work we will put into the vision of One For Trees requires waiting for so long, that only our children’s children will reap the fruit of these labors. May we all be patient and sometimes, impatient, so that the One For Trees program will flourish long after we have planted the seeds of our work,” added Tarayao.
The recent signing forms part of the OFT kick-off activities for this year, which also includes community tree-planting and learning visits in the Green Earth Heritage Farm OFT site located in San Miguel, Bulacan. These activities aimed at improving reforestation practices by learning from the partners’ experiences and getting more support from other stakeholders for the initiative.