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Aboitiz Group, RAFI, and DepEd pursue green partnership for Cebu’s youth

AE Team | August 3, 2018

Planting seedlings in school gardens when we were young can be nostalgic for many of us. At that age, the simple joy of knowing the different plant names and seeing nature’s beauty up close was priceless. As we grew older, planting has come to represent a shared duty to Earth, our collective responsibility to our environment.

As an organization that aims to engage Filipinos to take care of our country’s forests, we in Aboitiz seek to create the ripple effect needed to impart the value of environmental sustainability to our communities, starting with the youth. We remain steadfast in our goal of making Aboitiz a truly sustainable enterprise that we can entrust to future generations. In the same breath, we continuously form impactful partnerships that align with and reflect our sustainability mindset. This is evident in one of our major programs called A-Park.

Envisioned as a nationwide forest cover restoration program of the Aboitiz Group, A-Park was launched in 2010 to contribute to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ National Greening Program. During its inception, we had targeted to plant 3 million trees by 2015, and we were able to surpass that goal a year earlier. Currently, Aboitiz is implementing the second phase of A-Park, where we now aim to plant 9 million trees by 2020.

We believe, however, that sustainability should not stop with the decision makers and beneficiaries. First and foremost, we also have to teach the youth how to become stewards of their one and only home – our planet. And what better way to than to start with where Aboitiz as a company took root.

To catalyze the change in mindset among the academic community and the students of Cebu, we tapped the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation, Inc. (RAFI) to extend our A-Park program to the foundation’s partner schools. Under the collaboration, 500,000 seedlings will be planted across 500 hectares through the participation of 300 schools that will serve as nurseries for the trees. With an allocated budget of PHP22.6 million, around 50,000 public school students will be involved in the regional initiative and 150 Department of Education teachers will be trained in tree growing.

Several DepEd school districts were brought into the fold for the partnership, namely Dumanjug 1 and 2, Alcantara, Ronda, Moalboal, Badian, Alegria, Malabuyoc and Ginatilan, all of which realize the value of instilling the mindset of sustainability among the country’s schoolchildren as early as possible.

It is important. Everybody must be involved in greening our environment because few individuals will not cure the problem. We must work hand in hand to preserve our lives today and the future generation. It is also part of developing young minds. Molding each one to be a responsible citizen of our country. We the educators are not just paid to do the task but we are also responsible to get involved in the environmental rehabilitation.” 

-Mary Bel Revilla, District Supervisor of Malabuyoc

 

We realize that our sustainability efforts, through A-Park, are more effective when done at a larger scale. The program itself is designed with our communities in mind. We undertook the initiative with RAFI in the hopes of educating more students and teachers about the importance of nurturing a culture of environmental responsibility.

 

This partnership is more than just about tree planting and growing. The partnership binds business, local government units and school communities in a manner that not only talks about the how’s and why’s of sustainability but allows all stakeholders, specifically public school students to actually experience planting a tree and learn how to take care of it.

-Atty. James Abadia, Vice President of Social Development, RAFI

 

Aboitiz stays committed to its promise of advancing business and communities in its pursuit of a wider, more inclusive approach to reforestation. Our goal has always been anchored on the belief that starting our youth early on the path to a sustainable future will set the stage for a cleaner and greener Philippines.