Million Trees Foundation launch set; MWSS, partners push tree planting to protect watersheds

MWSS CHAIRMAN and OIC Administrator Reynaldo Velasco: Reforestation, tree planting vital in protecting watersheds

By Jeanne Michael Penaranda

QUEZON CITY – The Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) Corporate Office gathers today (September 14) participating partners in the Annual Million Trees Challenge (AMTC) project five years after its kick-off activities at Ipo Dam.

The virtual activity features the achievements of AMTC in a video documentary.  Since its launch in 2017 until 2020, participating partners have planted a total of 4,131,626 trees in the beneficiary watersheds identified by MWSS.  These watersheds –Angat, Ipo,Kaliwa, La Mesa, Laguna Lake, Umiray, and Upper Marikina, including Manila Bay— directly affect water supply in Metro Manila and neighboring provinces that are under the MWSS service area.

MWSS Chairman and OIC Administrator Reynaldo V. Velasco credits the support of the MWSS concessionaires Manila Water Company, Inc., Maynilad Water Services, Inc., and  Luzon Clean Water Development Corporation as well as the participating agencies for the success of the AMTC project that he initiated.

Expected to attend are representatives of AMTC partner agencies and organizations namely: MWSS Regulatory Office, Manila Water Company, Inc., Maynilad Water Services, Inc., Luzon Clean Water Development Corporation, DENR National Capital Region, DENR Region III, DENR Region IV-A, Laguna Lake Development Authority, National Power Corporation, Local Government of Gen. Nakar, Quezon, ABS CBN Lingkod Kapamilya Foundation Inc. – BantayKalikasan, World Wide Fund for Nature-Philippines, UP Mountaineers, Philippine Waterworks Association, UP Beta Sigma, Rotary Club District 3780, JCI Senate Philippines, Mga Anak ni Inang Daigdig, Boy Scouts of the Philippines, and Million Tree Foundation, Inc. Plaques of appreciation will be given to the partner agencies  and the top performers will be recognized.

During the event, the Million Trees Foundation Inc. (MFTI) will also be officially launched.  MFTI is composed of civic-minded professionals who share the advocacy for environment protection. The key objective of MFTI is to ensure the Annual Million Trees Challenge (AMTC) is sustained even beyond its five-year project duration. The Foundation will collaborate with and complement government programs in protecting the environment and conserving natural resources through tree-planting.  It supports the National Greening Program and intends to promote sustainable watershed management throughout the country.

A highlight of today’s event is the signing of a Memorandum of Agreement between MWSS Corporate Office and MFTI which will be signed by MWSS Chairman and OIC Administrator Reynaldo V. Velasco and MFTI Executive Director Melandrew T. Velasco.  The MOA among others, stipulates that MTFI is recognized by MWSS as a non-government partner organization in the implementation of the AMTC and the grants the same administrative and operational authority to develop the AMTC program.  According to the MOA, MFTI shall be given free access to the 5-hectare MWSS property which will be the site for a plant nursery and to the watershed area where reforestation or rehabilitation shall be done.

The event will also launch a new magazine on environment protection published by MFTI called FLOW magazine. FLOW stands for For the Love Of Watershed. It is a take-off from the Water and Environment Journal.

For its maiden issue, FLOW reports on the accomplishments of the AMTC through the years. It carries articles on the environment protection and tree-planting activities of MWSS concessionaires Manila Water, Maynilad, and Luzon Clean Water Development Corporation. It also features the tree-planting activities of the Philippine Bamboo Development Council, Rotary District 3780, JCI Senate Green Link project and Mga Anak ni Inang Daigdig. Also featured is an article written by WWF Project Manager Paolo Pagaduan. It also has a write-up on the MFTI, outlining its programs and strategies and vision for the future.

The event is organized by MWSS Corporate Office in collaboration with its concessionaires and MFTI.