Calling to mind President Duterte’s message about environmental protection during the last (2018) SONA, MWSS held the A Million Tree Challenge (AMTC) Recognition and Pledging Day on July 27, 2018. The AMTC program was initiated by MWSS Administrator Velasco in 2017 and aims to invite and encourage participant agencies to plant one million trees per year in the next five years to protect the six critical watersheds of Umiray, Angat, Ipo, La Mesa, Marikina and the Laguna Lake.

Through the efforts of MWSS Concessionaires Maynilad and Manila Water, DENR, civic organizations and other public and private sectors, the one million tree commitment last year have been achieved and even surpassed as the program was able to plant 1,337,800 trees in 2017.

The event, ably hosted by Ms. Annette De Ocampo of Maynilad and Mr. Jeric Sevilla of Manila Water, started with the ceremonial planting of ylang-ylang saplings near the Carriedo fountain in the MWSS compound by MWSS Administrator Velasco, Congressman Leopoldo N. Bataoil (ylang-ylang advocate), DENR Usec. and Chief of Staff Rodolfo Garcia, DepEd Usec. Alain del Pascua, Manila Water Pres. Ferdinand de la Cruz, Maynilad Pres. Ramoncito Fernandez, MWSS Chief Regulator Atty. Patrick Lester Ty and Bantay Kalikasan’s David Azurin. The program proceeded at the MWSS Multi-purpose gymnasium with the following sequence of events: presentation of the AMTC accomplishments for 2017, awarding of plaques and certificates of recognition and special awards to participating agencies/initiators/committee members and turnover of communication equipment to Bantay Gubat workers of Ipo Dam was presented. The participating agencies were MWSS-CO, MWSS-RO, DENR Regions III, IV-A & NCR, Manila Water, Maynilad, Bantay Kalikasan, WWF, PWWA, U.P. Mountaineers, JCI Senate Philippines and Rotary Club District 3780. Concluding the program was the Pledging of 2018 Commitments by the noble agencies.

MWSS is very much optimistic that this One Million Tree Challenge project will become an institution not only in the next four years but in the years to come and hopefully contributes to the President’s call to protect our environment.