Trees Foundation lauds SMC’s green projects, support for Million Trees Movement

EDDIE'S GREEN INAUGURATION. Photo shows MWSS Administrator Leonor Cleofas, former MWSS Chairman and Administrator now Million Trees Foundation Chairman Emeritus Gen. Reynaldo V. Velasco, Ms. Cristy Ramos and MTFI President and Executive Director Melandrew T. Velasco at the recent unveiling of the marker of the SMC Multi Purpose Center dubbed as Eddie's Green Barn dedicated in honor of the late former President Fidel V. Ramos.

By Claire Morales True

LA MESA WATERSHED, Quezon City – Million Trees Foundation, Inc. (MTFI) commended San Miguel Corporation (SMC) for its continuing support to protect the environment through its various green projects.

In a statement, MTFI President and Executive Director Melandrew T. Velasco said that through the years SMC has always championed environmental protection even as it pursued its business interests.

 “We have witnessed how SMC has grown to become one of the biggest businesses in the country. When we take a closer look, we cannot deny that along its growth is the company’s advocacy to promote sustainable development,” Velasco said.

 “Aside from its various environment protection programs, SMC is also MTFI’s leading major annual donor,” he said.

 SMC has extended financial support to MTFI for the construction of the Million Trees Nursery and Eco-learning Center located at the La Mesa Watershed compound in Quezon City. 

 According to MTFI Chairman Emeritus Gen. Reynaldo V. Velasco (ret), SMC is MTFI’s major annual donor, providing Php 5 million to bankroll the construction and operations of the foundation. He recalled that during his stint as MWSS Administrator, SMC has supported the Annual Million Trees Challenge (AMTC) that he initiated. “The Million Trees Foundation was established to ensure the success of AMTC and the foundation is grateful to have SMC as a partner in our efforts to rehabilitate critical watersheds,” General Velasco said.

 Recently, SMC handed over to MTFI another Php 5 million, making it the biggest donor in the roster of the foundation’s supporters.

 “We greatly appreciate this act of generosity from SMC and its President and CEO Ramon S. Ang. I still have to meet a business person who can approximate what RSA has done for our country’s degraded environment,” the MTFI Chairman Emeritus said.

 SMC was also a donor for the conversion of a greenhouse at the Million Trees Nursery and Eco Learning Center into the SMC Multipurpose Hall named Eddie’s Barn in honor of the late President Fidel V. Ramos. The multipurpose hall is now being utilized as venue for ecology-related workshops and seminars.

 In his inspirational message read by MGen Edgard Arevalo (Ret) during the inauguration of the multi-purpose hall last October 23, 2022 SMC President & CEO Ramon S. Ang (RSA) said “We at San Miguel can only hope to make as lasting an impact on the environment as the Ramoses and other notable champions.” 

 “In the Philippines, we are blessed not just with abundant natural resources—we also have many active and engaged individuals and organizations who do their part for the environment. And yet, few can claim to have made such a mark as the former President and former First Lady, have. That is why we are celebrating them today.”

 “We hope our humble contribution of this multi-purpose hall–a tribute to both the former President and First Lady, and to all who continue to carry the torch—will inspire and help many others to get involved in protecting, saving, and improving our environment for the benefit of many future generations,” he said.

 According to RSA, SMC have supported the Million Trees initiative all these years to have a lasting positive impact on the environment. “The urgency and importance of protecting our watersheds through reforestation cannot be over-stated–especially now when basic needs like food and energy are becoming scarcer, and harder to access,” he stressed.

SMC has taken on more ambitious sustainability challenges to include discontinuance of its plastic water business, experimented with recycled plastics roads, and commitment to cut by 50 percent its use of utility water across the SMC group, and planting of over seven million trees and mangroves nationwide.

Likewise it has completed the rehabilitation and clean-up of Tullahan River and it is currently undertaking the clean-up and rehabilitation of the Pasig River. The latter is a continuation of many efforts including the Piso Para sa Pasig initiative under the Clean And Green Foundation, Inc. founded by Mrs. Amelita M. Ramos.

The inauguration ceremony was attended by MTFI officials led by Chairman Emeritus Gen. Reynaldo V. Velasco and President & Executive Director Melandrew T. Velasco; MWSS Administrator Engr. Leonor Cleofas; MWSS Board of Trustee Atty. Rogelio Quevedo, Ms. Cristy Ramos, representing the guest of honor former First Lady Amelita M. Ramos; and former officials of the Ramos Administration namely DENR Secretary Victor Ramos, former DILG & Tourism Secretary Rafael Alunan III,  and MGen Jose P. Magno, Jr.