In celebration of Philippine Arbor Day, Executives of the DENR National Capital Region come together to plant trees at the La Mesa Arboretum Park and Nursery in Quezon City on Friday, 25 June 2021.

Members of the Regional Management Committee (RMC) led by Regional Executive Director Jacqueline A. Caancan, planted native and indigenous tree species such as Red lauan (Shorea negrosensis), Guijo (Shorea guiso), Molave (Vitex parviflora), and Narra (Pterocarpus indicus) inside the 2,659-hectare of La Mesa Water Reservation Area to help improve the quality and quantity of freshwater stored in the reservoir.

The La Mesa dam is part of the Angat-Ipo-La Mesa water system, The reservoir has a water capacity of up to 50.5 million cubic meters which is the main source of potable for Metro Manila. It was built in 1929 during the American occupation of the Philippines to replace Wawa Dam in Rizal Province.

In 2007, former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo issued Proclamation No. 1336 creating the La Mesa Water Reservation area. Said proclamation specifically set aside portions of Quezon City and Caloocan City in Metro Manila and the town of Rodriguez (Montalban) in Rizal Province as a water reservation area. It also directed DENR and the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) to jointly manage the area through a Multi-Sectoral Watershed Management Council.

In keeping with its mandate to protect and improve the area, DENR National Capital Region established the La Mesa Arboretum Park and Nursery in 2016. The arboretum showcases different indigenous and native tree species of the country to encourage scientific research, promote conservation, and engage in public outreach and education on the protection and preservation of trees. The nursery, on the other hand, provides the regional office with a stock of trees and plants to sustain its urban greening efforts.

“Since its creation, we have been here busy sourcing and propagating native and indigenous tree species for our tree museum and nursery here in Quezon City, and we must sustain these efforts not only through continuous planting but, more importantly, through continuous study and improvement of our tree planting and caring methods to increase the survival rate of the trees we have already planted.”, Director Caancan said. She added that they chose native and indigenous trees because they are most adapted to the local environment and do not have any adverse effect on existing flora and fauna.