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UPV & EDC partner to rescue endangered Philippine trees

It was not just your typical tree-planting event. The trees planted were highly endangered and premium Philippine tree species.

The partnership between UP Visayas and the Energy Development Corporation (EDC) through the latter’s BINHI project made possible the planting of these trees. This was formalized through a commitment signing on September 23, 2016 at the UP Visayas Miagao campus.

Chancellor Rommel Espinosa who welcomed the guests from EDC expressed his enthusiasm over the partnership as it supports the continuing effort in the “greening of UP Visayas” and is likewise consistent with UP’s strategic environmental thrust.

Ms. Teresa Peralta, head of the EDC Corporate Social Responsibility Development explained that the BINHI program is a nationwide reforestation effort that particularly focuses on the restoration of vanishing native and premium Philippine tree species.

Once a government owned corporation, EDC is now privatized and is under the leadership of the Lopezes.  The BINHI program aims to reforest 1,000 hectares every year to secure the gene pool of premium and indigenous tree species, enhance biological diversity, promote eco-tourism and support the livelihood of host communities.

Meanwhile, Prof. Pastor Malabrigo, Jr., of UP Los Baños and EDC consultant taxonomist, shared the difficulties and hardship in scouring for the indigenous tree species in the Philippine mountains. However, he also shared success stories on how BINHI is rescuing the vanishing native and premium Philippine tree species from extinction.

Part 1 of the tree planting took place at the UPV Diwata Shore complex in Brgy. Mamabatad, Miagao, where 234 indigenous tree species were planted by students, faculty members, staff and UPV officials along with the EDC guests. Prof. Malabrigo pointed that the trees being planted at the shore were salt sea resilient.

Part 2 took place at Brgy. Paroon in Miagao where UPV’s Environmental Laboratory and Wildlife Area is located. Volunteers had to endure an uphill and downhill trek of almost one-and-a half kilometers made even more difficult by the slippery and muddy trail due to the heavy rains the night before.

Reaching the site, 1,000 tree saplings were planted. The task was made a bit easier by the staff of the UPV Site Development and Reforestation Project who already dug and prepared the holes for the tree saplings to be planted.

The UPV Vice-Chancellor for Planning and Development with Dr. Evelyn Belleza at the helm, initiated the UPV EDC partnership. UPV officials present apart from Espinosa and Belleza were, Vice-Chancellor for Administration Nestor Yunque, College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) Dean, Resurreccion Sadaba, CAS Associate Dean Nera Katalbas and School of Technology Dean Emeliza Lozada. 

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