Every February of the year, MWSS calls on its partner organizations to contribute to the Annual Million Tree Challenge (AMTC), a 5-year program to promote water security and protection of the environment.
Then MWSS Administrator Reynaldo Velasco initiated the AMTC in response to President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s socio-economic development agenda, the Philippine Development Plan (PDP) 2017-2022. The AMTC program corresponds with the PDP focus areas on biodiversity conservation and ecosystem system resilience through partnerships in rehabilitating critical watersheds and convergence/complementation of resources.
In February last year, 20 organizations committed to supporting the AMTC with a pledge of 1.6 million seedlings. Also in the past year, most of the partner agencies decided to postpone planting as COVID 19 cases spiked throughout the country resulting to a below 1 Million trees planted for 2020. The figure below shows the annual number of trees planted per watershed and the dramatic drop in reforestation activities last year compared with previous years.
Chairman and now concurrent OIC Administrator Reynaldo Velasco said during the AMTC Meeting held on 22 February 2021:. “After seeing the impact of typhoons last year, let us increase our efforts and put the strength of our commitment behind the AMTC. Planting trees is more important now than ever. Forest loss in our critical watersheds is again substantial as our 2020 reforestation efforts fell short of the target. Reforestation plays a vital role in building a resilient ecosystem that can withstand pandemics, natural disasters, and climate change.
This year,let us face on-the-ground challenges with action, innovative solutions so we can deliver on our promise of a greener and water-secure future.
MWSS thanks all its partners and supporters for making the 2020 tree planting activities possible despite the pandemic; and its key partners this year who initially pledged 819,200 seedlings for the 5th year of the AMTC program.