THE Aboitiz Group recently firmed up its long-standing commitment to the environment, partnering with the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP) and the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (Rafi) to plant an estimated one-million trees and reforest large areas in Luzon and Visayas under the group’s flagship nationwide tree-planting program, A-Park.
Under its partnership with PBSP, with an estimated total cost of P23.5 million, the Aboitiz Group will plant and maintain 500,000 trees on an estimated 313-hectare property in the Marikina Watershed from 2017 to 2022. The Marikina Watershed, declared a protected area in 2011, serves as a biodiversity site and river basin that catches water from the Central Luzon mountain ranges. Today, only 25 percent of the area is forested.
The Aboitiz Group will also partner with Rafi and the Department of Education-Cebu to plant and grow 500,000 trees (all native timber or fruit-bearing) through school and community-based activities across Cebu from 2017 to 2020. his partnership will establish native tree nurseries in at least 300 schools province-wide, led by 50,000 public school students, and will include tree-growing training for at least 150 DepEd teachers. The estimated cost of this partnership is at P22.6 million.
Such partnerships were signed at a ceremony last Oct. 26 by Rey Laguda, PBSP executive director; Erramon I. Aboitiz, Aboitiz Equity Ventures Inc. president and chief executive officer (CEO); Armin Luistro, former DepEd secretary and PBSP president; Jon Ramon Aboitiz, Rafi president and CEO; and Susan Valdez, Aboitiz Foundation president.
The A-Park program is a nationwide reforestation initiative of the Aboitiz Group, with the planted trees playing key roles in the group’s overall carbon sequestration thrust as well as the ongoing international action on climate change.
The program is the Group’s contribution to the government’s greening efforts in partnership with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
In 2016, the Aboitiz Group planted 5.4 million trees, each with an excellent seedling survival rate of 77 percent.