Million Trees Foundation renews call for more trees planted to address global warming

The Million Trees Foundation, Inc. (MTFI) has renewed its call for all stakeholders in the country to plant more trees in support of the government’s ongoing reforestation program to help contain global warming and climate change

MTFI president and executive director Melandrew Velasco said their goal “is to plant more trees and grow them in critical watersheds and continue the gains of the Annual Million Tree Challenge.”

MTFI took the spotlight during the country’s observance of Global Warming and Climate Change Consciousness Week from last November 18-25.

A non-profit organization, MTFI has urged all stakeholders to support the priority programs of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to ensure an integrated approach to climate change and ensure water security, especially in high water-stressed areas.

“We make sure the tree species we plant are compatible with the type of soil,” Velasco shared, adding that MTFI targets to plant 10 million more trees by 2030. It has already planted 5.2 million trees in seven critical watersheds in Angat, Ipo, La Mesa, Umiray, Laguna Lake, Kaliwa and Upper Marikina that supply potable water to Metro Manila and its environs.

MTFI has gone this far from 2017 to 2021 through the Annual Million Trees Challenge (AMTC) of the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS). Velasco said reforesting the watersheds contributes to water security.

On the other hand, MTFI chairman emeritus, retired Gen. Reynaldo V. Velasco, said it is “our obligation to care for our environment, and trees capture carbon dioxide and intensifying tree-planting means more trees to absorb carbon emissions.”

MTFI has partnered with various organizations and business groups to pursue its reforestation program. One of its major partners is San Miguel Corporation, one of the country’s leading conglomerates.

SMC’s power subsidiary SMC Global Power Holdings Corp. (SMCGP), has helped bolster MTFI’s successful program by planting and growing over five million new trees and mangroves from 2019 to date, under its multi-year, nationwide forestation and carbon capture program.

SMCGP said it is also expanding the scope of the project to reforest areas around its new Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) facilities—the first and largest such network in the Philippines and Southeast Asia.

SMC president and chief executive officer Ramon S. Ang said that as of Oct. 2022, SMCGP’s “Project 747” initiative has yielded a total of 5,010,116 upland and mangrove trees, across some 1,500 hectares of land. Its goal is to plant seven million trees on some 4,000 hectares of land, in at least seven provinces.

Ang said SMCGP has thus far planted in various areas in eight provinces — Albay, Bataan, Bulacan, Davao Occidental, Negros Occidental, Pangasinan, Quezon province, and Zambales.

The observance of is pursuant to Presidential Proclamation No. 1667 issued by

Former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo issued Presidential Proclamation No. 1667 on November 18, 2008, which declared the annual observance of Global Warming and Climate Change Consciousness Week on November 19-25 every year.