DENR, Aboitiz target six million trees by 2020

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ENVIRONMENT Secretary Ramon Paje is confident that they could accomplish their target of planting six million trees by 2020 after his agency has entered into an agreement with Aboitiz Equity Ventures Inc. under the National Greening Program.

The private-government partnership has been sealed through a memorandum of agreement (MOA) signed by  Paje and Erramon I. Aboitiz, AEV President and Chief Executive Officer, represented by Manny Rubio, Aboitiz Power EVP and COO for Power Generation Group.

Under the agreement, AEV will register Phase 2 of its ongoing A-Park sustainability program by planting and growing six million trees by 2020 making it the biggest partner of the government to date.

Aboitiz will mobilize employees, host communities and people’s organizations for the actual planting in close coordination with the DENR, which will provide the necessary technical assistance in site identification, species matching, seedling protection, geo-tagging, and inventory.

"We are pleased to support the DENR in its efforts to build a more sustainable country through the National Greening Program. Today, we are stepping up to take on a bigger challenge of the A-Park with a new goal to plant six million more trees over the next six years, in tandem with the national effort to re-green the Philippines. After all, this is how we showcase the group’s shared passion following our BetterWorld sustainability mindset," said Rubio in a statement.

"The six million trees of A-Park will create a growing forest, which in turn will have a higher sequestration capacity compared to existing forests. This is good for the country, this is good for the planet and this is good for the next generation," he stressed.

Collectively, the A-Park initiative will bring a total of nine million trees planted by 2020.

"This partnership will ensure a sustainable future for generations to come," he added.

For his part, Paje lauded the Aboitiz Group’s A-Park program for both its economic and environmental objectives.

The A-Park will not only alleviate poverty and achieve food security, it will also help address the problem of climate change.

Paje said the A-Park trees that will be planted under the NGP will have higher sequestration capacity that may be able to support the country’s bid for carbon neutral status during the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris this year. The Paris accord is expected to improve the agreements of the older Kyoto Protocol.

Through the A-Park sustainability program, Aboitiz business units nationwide have been planting trees in their respective areas of operations, achieving 3.4 million trees by end of 2014, a year ahead of its 2015 target.

Last May, more than 2,000 Aboitiz team members were in full force to simultaneously plant more than 60,000 seedlings in various parts of the country, specifically in areas where the company operates. (Lilybeth G. Ison/PNA)