Ipo Watershed reforestation completed despite the coronavirus pandemic

HSBC Philippines
Ipo Watershed reforestation
A river cuts through the forests of Ipo Watershed. Ipo Watershed supplies 96% of Metro Manila’s water supply. Photograph © Alo Lantin / WWF-Philippines

The Ipo Watershed in Bulacan has been completely reforested by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Philippines together with GCash, despite the limitations brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.

The WWF Philippines December 2020 report said it had completed the reforestation of 75 hectares of Ipo Watershed by the end of November.

The group said the recent water shortages caused by siltation in Ipo Dam further stressed the need to protect and rehabilitate the crucial but damaged, watershed.

“The pandemic has shown how taking care of nature is actually about taking care of ourselves, and others on this planet. The rest of the world may have stopped, but those who take care of our environment did not,” said WWF-Philippines Project Manager Paolo Pagaduan.

The Forests for Water program, which Pagaduan oversees, has sought the rehabilitation of Ipo Watershed since 2016. With their partners, WWF-Philippines worked to secure the natural integrity of the watershed.

The reforestation project team had stayed within the watershed since the start of the pandemic, in order to reduce the chances of the coronavirus disease reaching the local communities.

The seedlings used for reforestation were also sourced from within Ipo Watershed. A nursery, established at the end of 2019, supplies seedlings from native trees already located within the watershed.

“We’re aware of the risks brought about by the pandemic, but our conservation work in Ipo Watershed is of utmost importance. With the locals of Ipo Watershed, we found newer, safer ways to keep on rehabilitating the watershed throughout the year,” added Pagaduan.

GCash has supported the reforestation and rehabilitation of Ipo Watershed since 2018. Through GCash Forest, GCash aims to plant 365,000 seedlings across the country, 120,000 of which have been committed to Ipo Watershed.

“Responding to the threats of climate change calls for innovative solutions and more collaborations between the public and private sectors. GCash Forest is a true testament to this collaboration and is promising in its utilization of technology to help restore our forests, increase awareness on our tree species, and secure our country’s natural resources for future generations,” said Gcash Head of Public Affairs and Corporate Social Responsibility Mabel Niala.

Meanwhile, the University of the Philippines and the Department of Science and Technology partnered for new research projects to help in the Manila Bay rehabilitation and future-proof the area against environmental disasters.

SEND CHEERS in the comments below to the Ipo Watershed project team for completing the reforestation despite the coronavirus pandemic!

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The Good News Pilipinas Team is a group of Filipino journalists who advocate putting more good news stories about the Philippines and Filipinos on the media.