Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Cebu Hillylands Reforestation Caravan 2008

Mt. Manunggal, which stands over 3,000 meters above sea level, is the highest peak in Cebu. It is famed in the province because President Ramon Magsaysay died in the area when his plane, Mt. Pinatubo, crashed in Mt. Manunggal’s thick forest on March 15, 1957. According to history, there was only survivor and it took several days for rescuers to respond to the disaster because more than 90% of the area was forested.

Mt. Manunggal is located within the Central Cebu Protected Landscape (CCPL) – a 29,000-hectare watershed and source of Metro Cebu’ water. As of 1990, however, less than 10% of the CCPL, also called the Cebu Hillylands, is forested. The rapid denudation of the CCPL vis-à-vis the threat to Metro Cebu’s water supply are the rallying points behind Philippine Business for Social Progress’ (PBSP) Cebu Hillylands Reforestation Caravan 2008, which will run during the months of June to October. The Cebu Hillylands Reforestation Caravan 2008 will kick off this June 28, 2008, 8:30a.m. in Barangay Magsaysay (vicinity of Mt. Manunggal), Municipality of Balamban, Cebu.

The conservation of the CCPL is relevant to Metro Cebu’s sustainable development. Metro Cebu extracts its water from the aquifer, a groundwater reservoir, and the presence of forest cover sustains the water stored in the aquifer. Since 1991, PBSP’partnerships with the business sector, government and community-based organizations resulted to the planting of over 12 million forest and fruit tree species in 4,900 hectares.

Companies, schools, NGO’s, government offices and other institutions are invited. The Cebu Hillylands Reforestation Caravan 2008 is dedicated for the preservation of the environment and local history. One of the highlights of the event will be the planting of the manunggal seedlings, known to cure skin diseases, fevers, rheumatism, asthma and chest infections, but otherwise almost extinct in the area.

PBSP is the country’s biggest corporate-led foundation implementing human development projects such as poverty reduction, education, health, environment and entrepreneurship. For more information about PBSP and the Cebu Hillylands Reforestation Caravan 2008, please call (032) 232-5270 or 232-5283.