Monday, July 26, 2010

Reforestation of Marikina watershed under way

Reforestation of Marikina watershed under way
Philippine Daily Inquirer
July 24, 2010

MANILA, Philippines — As public concern swings back and forth from floods to water shortages, a public-private sector initiative has been launched to help address these mounting fears.

The Philippine Disaster Recovery Foundation (PDRF), government agencies, private companies and non-governmental organizations recently signed a memorandum of cooperation for the reforestation of the Marikina watershed to help minimize disastrous floods and improve the water supply for Metro Manila and nearby areas.

The short-term goal is to plant trees on some 600 hectares of the 28,000-hectare watershed, with the long-term goal of reforesting a total of about 9,500 hectares. The parties also agreed to pursue the development of sustainable agro-forestry livelihoods for communities in the area.

The Marikina watershed was the source of most of the flood waters that inundated Metro Manila during Tropical Storm “Ondoy” in September last year.

Reforesting the watershed will eventually improve the capacity of the area to retain rainfall water and thus reduce the threat of floods while helping improve water supply for the metro area.

The Marikina Watershed initiative is a broad-based, multi-sectoral cooperation initiated by the PDRF, the private sector partner of the Special National Public-Private Reconstruction Commission created by then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in the wake of last year’s destructive storms. It is chaired by PLDT Chairman Manuel Pangilinan and co-chaired by Cebu Archbishop Ricardo Cardinal Vidal.

PDRF’s public sector partners in this initiative include the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the Antipolo City Government, the Marikina Watershed Protected Area Management Board and the National Power Corporation.

Its private sector partners include the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company, Smart Communications, Inc., PLDT-Smart Foundation, Manila Water, Earth Day Network Philippines, Foundation for the Philippine Environment, Fostering People’s Education, Empowerment and Enterprise, League of Corporate Foundations, Kalingap Marikina Watershed, the Philippine Tropical Forest Conservation Foundation, Philippine Business for Social Progress, the Manila Electric Company, Haribon Foundation, UCPB Foundation, Education For Life, National Power Corporation, True Development Foundation, Inc., Mga Anak ni Inang Daigdig, the Diocese of Antipolo, the local government of Antipolo City and the communities of Barangay Calawis and Barangay San Jose.