The Annual Million Tree Challenge (AMTC) program is now on its third year of successful tree planting and nurturing activities by MWSS, its stakeholders, NGO’s and civic groups. Initiated by now Chairman of the MWSS Board Reynaldo V. Velasco in 2017 together with DENR, this program aims to invite and encourage participating agencies to plant one million trees per year in the next five years to protect the six critical watersheds namely: Umiray, Angat, Ipo, La Mesa, Marikina and the Laguna Lake.

On its first year of launching (2017), partner agencies are MWSS-RO, Manila Water, Maynilad, DENR-NCR, DENR-Region 3, DENR-Region 4A, Bantay Kalikasan, World Wide Fund, U.P. Mountaineers, Philippine Water Works Association and Rotary Club District 3780. On its second year (2018), additional joining agencies are JCI Senate Philippines, LGU of General Nakar, Quezon and the Laguna Lake Development Authority. This 2019, the Luzon Clean Water Development (San Miguel) and Bambuhay Social Enterprise joined as official partners.

The simple gathering organized by the Watershed Management Division, under the Asset Management Department of MWSS-CO, was held at MWSS Bulwagan Hall on October 1, 2019. Attended by key executives of partner agencies, the program started with an AVP followed by handing out of Plaques of Recognition by Chairman Velasco and Administrator Emmanuel Salamat. Afterwards, Mr. Ronald Abrigo of the MWSS Innovation and Technology Group discussed the leveling up of the existing AMTC to AMTC 2.0 in which new and improved concepts were discussed to heighten the maintenance and protection of the seedlings/trees planted. The partner agencies then pledged the number of hectares for the succeeding year’s planting commitment. Lastly, Administrator Salamat in his closing remarks, acknowledged the efforts of all partner agencies and the initiator behind all these initiatives.

In total, 2.365 million seedlings or equivalent to 5,900 hectares were already planted as of to date, a good symbolism that we are actually mindful of how to repay the privilege that we are currently receiving from mother nature.