Friday, June 7, 2013

SM Group leads ‘Grow A Million Trees’ mission in Bulacan

Motivated by the same goal, linked by a common threat, more than a hundred employees from different companies under the SM Group and its affiliates joined hands in making their pledges for the environment through the “Grow A Million Trees” tree planting activity held on June 5, 2013.

The project led by SM Foundation Inc. (SMFI), the company’s socio civic arm, is aimed to contribute to the national greening efforts through tree planting, nurturing and development initiatives in specified areas nationwide.

It also highlights the public and private partnership between the Department of Natural Resources (DENR) and SM in being catalysts for environment sustainability and protection.

SMFI likewise partnered with the local group, the Suklib Kalawakan DRT Upland Farmers Association, Inc. to help during the three-year program development of the plantation area in Bulacan.

Coinciding with the celebration of the World Environment Day, volunteers braved the heat as they trekked the steep hill of the vast 20-hectare land in Sitio Kamalig, Barangay Kalawakan, Doña Remedios Trinidad in Bulacan. This area was adopted as one of the seven identified sites for the tree growing project.

The area became the home of 2,500 saplings of narra trees planted by the participants. These seedlings amounted to the 25 percent of the target 10,000 for the Bulacan site alone.

Meanwhile, every employee who came from SM malls in Baliwag and Marilao, SM Hypermarket, Supermarket, SM Department Store and Ace Hardware were armed not only with planting tools but also with their desire to save the environment amidst climate crisis.

During the activity, it was SMFI Assistant Vice President for livelihood and outreach, Ms. Cristie Angeles who led the group together with project partners head DENR Central Office’s Romeo Fiecas, Community Environment and Natural Resources’ Forester III Juanito Pascual and People’s Organization’s Juanito Polka.

The SM Grow A Million Trees project in Bulacan is the first leg of the many tree planting activities for the year. To date, 270,207 seedlings have been planted by the SM Group and affiliates.

The project will also be carried out in the provinces of Benguet, Cebu, Cagayan De Oro, Davao, Nasugbu and Calatagan in Batangas.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Beauty queen vows to take up environment advocacy

By Dino Balabo

 MALOLOS CITY—A Bulakenya beauty queen vowed to promote environmental awareness in view of the calamities visited upon the province s in the last two years.

This, as the provincial government of Bulacan feted Bernadette Mae Aguirre yesterday during the launch of the month-long environmental awareness celebrations.

Aguirre was crowned 2013 Miss Earth Philippines-Eco-tourism last month in Manila.  She is the also the holder of the 2012 Lakambini ng Bulacan title.

A resident of Sta. Maria, one of the towns which suffered from the onslaught of typhoon Ondoy in 2009, Aguirre said she will push for environmental protection.

She said she will specifically work for the continued rehabilitation of the Marilao-Meycauayan-Obando River System (MMORS) which was included in the list of 30 dirtiest places on Earth in 2007.

“Environment degradation stems from lack of of understanding and awareness, that’s why I will devote this year for environmental campaign,” she said.

Aguirre also said that she will work hand in hand with the provincial government to campaign for reforestation projects in eastern Bulacan, specifically in the Angat  Watershed which was declared as one of the most critical watersheds in the country in 2004.

A graduate of the University of Santo Tomas, Aguirre described the Angat Watershed as the source of Metro Manila’s drinking water.

She said that unless it is protected and reforested, Metro Manila water supply cannot be secured.

With regards to coastal resources development, Aguirre said she will coordinate with the Bulacan Environment and Natural Resources Office (BENRO) for projects they can work for promotions.

Based on data from the Bureau of Agricultural Statistics, Bulacan annual fish production dropped by over 10,000 meteric towns from 2001 to 2011.

Agriculture officials in the province blamed pollution in rivers caused by lack of solid waste management programs in some towns.

However, fisherfolk and small fishpond operators blame excessive use of aqua feeds by fishpond operators with 50 hectares and above of fishponds.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013


AS WE celebrate World Environment Day today, June 5, the grim reminders of the power of nature are splashed on newspapers and all over the broadcast and social media.

Floodwaters are rising and devastating parts of Central Europe, powerful tornadoes had ripped through Oklahoma in the United States, earthquakes had struck Taiwan and southern Philippines. The toll on human lives and property are unimaginable; the images of destruction are beyond words.

Now, more than ever, is vigilance needed as communities brace for a changing environment. The new normal are stronger typhoons, sudden rains and flooding during summer, snowfall in arid lands, extreme heat in wintry months and higher sea level that would erase coastal communities.

The Philippine Network of Environmental Journalists (PNEJ) joins the celebration of World Environment Day aware that there are bigger challenges ahead. The responsibility of the media to convey accurate and timely information to communities at risk to a changing environment is much needed as we reach a critical stage of the fight to reverse the impact of global warming and climate change.

PNEJ, which is celebrating its third founding anniversary today, is reiterating its commitment to look for and present stories that would push environmental issues to the forefront so these could move policymakers, government and nongovernment agencies and communities to action.

We also take this opportunity to thank PNEJ’s partners in training and offering opportunities to a new generation of environmental journalists and bringing environmental reporting to the consciousness of the Filipino public. Rest assured, we will not waver in our resolve to advance environment and development issues to benefit our community, especially those most vulnerable to the impact of a changing climate.

Happy World Environment Day!