Regional Executive Director Jacqueline A. Caancan reaffirmed the support of DENR National Capital Region to the Annual Million Trees Challenge of the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) and the Million Trees Foundation, Inc. (MTFI).
Director Caancan made the announcement during a ceremony entitled “Million Trees Pledge 2023: The Road to 10 Million Trees by 2030” held on Wednesday, 29 June 2022, at the Million Trees Nursery and Eco-Learning Center located in La Mesa Watershed Reservation area, Barangay Lagro, Quezon City.
In a speech made in behalf of DENR OIC Secretary Joselin Marcus Fragada, Director Caancan said that DENR, through its offices in the National Capital Region (NCR), Central Luzon (Region 3), and CALABARZON (Region 4A) will continue to support the reforestation activities in Angat, Ipo, and La Mesa watershed to ensure supply of potable water to Metro Manila and nearby provinces.
“Let it be said on record that DENR National Capital Region will continue providing planting materials to the MWSS, assist in the assessment and validation of planting areas, and other support activities to ensure the survival of the planted trees,” Director Caancan said.
Since the start of the Million Tree Challenge in 2017, a total of 5.2 million trees have been planted under the program, broken down as follows: 1,337,800 in 2017; 1,027,467 in 2018; 1,022,917 in 2019; 633,442 in 2020 and, 1,190,718 in 2021.
For this year, twenty-six (26) new and existing partners pledged 1,710,000 trees to be planted inside the Angat-Ipo-La Mesa watershed area and in some parts of Cavite.
According to Director Caancan, it is crucial that program partners do not limit themselves to planting alone but to extend their assistance in nurturing the planted trees. “It is not enough that we plant trees. We need also ensure that the trees we’ve planted grow strong and healthy so that it is not only us and the present generation that gets to benefit from restored watersheds but the coming generation as well”, she added.
A healthy watershed, according to studies, reduces flooding and erosion damage, improves wildlife habitat, provides additional recreational opportunities, filters pollutants, sequesters and stores greenhouse gases, cools temperatures, and ensures the supply of water, among others.