THE Pampanga Press Club (PPC) Foundation Inc. has adopted one hectare of the Angeles City watershed in Sitio Target, Barangay Sapangbato for reforestation.

The undertaking was formalized in a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with the Abacan River and Angeles Watershed Advocacy Council Inc. (Araw-ACI) and the Kapatirang Aetas ng Angeles-Porac para sa Kalikasan at Agrikultura (Kaapka).

In a ceremony held Friday, PPC president Noel Tulabut signed the MOA with Araw-ACI president Renato “Abong” Tayag Jr. and Kaapka head Fred Pan for a three-year reforestation project. It seeks to help ensure the sustainable water supply for Angeles and the Metro Clark area.

Witnessing the MOA signing was Minerva Martinez, chief of the Conservation and Development Division of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources regional office, representing Regional Executive Director Paquito Moreno Jr.

During his welcome remarks, Tayag thanked PPC, saying Araw-ACI is looking forward to future environmental endeavors with PPC.

Martinez admired PPC for its advocacy to preserve the environment.

“This partnership that we establish today will literally and metaphorically bear fruits. The trees you plant today will join the over 128,000 hectares of forest plantations established by the DENR and its partners through the Enhanced National Greening Program since 2011, as well as the thousands planted all over the country through the initiatives of other private individuals and organizations,” said Martinez, reading the message of Moreno.

“Thank you for being with us in the mission of ensuring that the activity here today does not limit itself to a ‘tree planting’ but rather commits to fully becoming a ‘tree growing’ effort,” she said.

Tulabut, meanwhile, thanked the group’s partners for heeding the call to protect, rehabilitate and reforest the watershed to conserve the city’s water supply and support flood control in the area.

After the signing, officers of the PPC, Araw-ACI, Kaapka and DENR planted narra seedlings and bamboo propagules -- marking the start of the partnership -- in the designated one-hectare area.

This event is part of the Adopt-a-Watershed Reforestation Program of Araw-ACI, which is supported by the local government of Angeles City to rehabilitate the 560-hectare Angeles Watershed.

The program aims to ensure the reliable supply of clean water in the city and the whole of Pampanga province while providing livelihood to the Aeta community which serves as stewards of the trees planted in the watershed.

Under the partnership, PPC as project sponsor will be supplying the seedlings, ensuring a sustainable water supply and fertilizer; and funding the overall costs of caretaking and protection for the three-year period.

Kaapka, as the stewards, will look after the day-to-day upkeep of the 1-hectare land while Araw-ACI will oversee implementation of the project. It will also coordinate with the local government of Angeles City and the land owner -- the Bases Conversion Development Authority.

Pan, for his part, thanked the groups for this initiative, which will not only generate jobs for the locals, but will also serve as their source of food. (PR)