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While the global COVID-19 pandemic has forced most businesses to deprioritize non-essential sectors, the MVP Group of Companies has maintained its thrust for social responsibility, particularly with efforts related to environmental protection and sustainability.

MVP Group Chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan says that despite the urgency of addressing concerns related to COVID-19, environmental protection must never take a back seat as climate change and other environmental concerns pose even greater dangers to human life.

“Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, the world has already been facing daunting challenges on how to protect our environment and promote more equitable social development. If we don’t act now or even pause what we have already started, we might reach a point where we are no longer able to protect ourselves from the irreversible effects of environmental destruction. As a conglomerate that champions innovation and social responsibility in all our fields of business, we recognize the significance of our role in making a positive impact and contribute to the sustainable development of our country, people, and planet,” Pangilinan said.

On November 6, 2020, PLDT and Smart Communications, Inc. have formally announced their partnership with the Department of Natural Resources (DENR) through the DENR-Biodiversity Management Bureau and DENR Caraga 13 Regional Office for the conservation of carbon-rich peatlands in the Caraga Region to help combat climate change. This project focuses on the protection, conservation, and restoration of the Caimpugan Peatland, located within the Agusan Marsh Wildlife Sanctuary in Agusan Del Sur.

The Caimpugan Peatland is the only recorded remaining intact peat swamp forest — the largest of its kind — in the Philippines. At 5,000 hectares, this peatland stores an estimated 22.9 million tons of carbon, which, when released, is certainly a dangerous amount that can harm vegetation, wildlife, and human life surrounding the area due to destruction of the ecosystem.

PLDT-Smart and DENR  will work hand-in-hand to protect and conserve the Caimpugan peatlands, while raising public awareness on the importance of peatlands through marketing campaigns, as well as creating sustainable-peatland enterprises to provide jobs and livelihood to people living in the surrounding communities.

Maynilad’s “Plant For Life” Program

Also taking part in the MVP Group’s massive efforts for environmental protection is water utilities and services provider Maynilad Water Services Inc. Its annual Plant For Life program, which aims to reforest the Ipo Watershed and other watersheds within the West Zone, has pledged to plant 34,000 trees and mangroves this year.

The project, which started in 2007, has planted nearly 800,000 trees covering about 341 hectares of the Ipo Watershed alone. Plant For Life hopes to mitigate the dangerous effects of climate change to human life by preventing disasters such as land erosion and flooding through tree-planting, all while maintaining the healthy quality of water collected in the dams that supply most of Metro Manila.

Metro Pacific Investments Foundation’s “Bayan Tanim!” and “Shore It Up”

Meanwhile, other companies within the MVP Group are also working on different projects to protect the environment. Metro Pacific Investments Foundation’s (MPIF) Bayan Tanim! Project aims to help disadvantaged communities recover from the adverse effects of the COVID-19 pandemic by growing household crops from their backyard. The program provides communities and displaced workers with  basic cultivation essentials crates from the “Move Food Initiative” of Agrea Agriculture System International Inc., which contains seeds, seedlings, fertilizer, soilless potting mix, as well as fresh vegetables directly sourced from local farmers from the “Plant, Plant, Plant” campaign of the Department of Agriculture.

In partnership with First Pacific Company Ltd., MPIF has turned over the first 100 Bayan Tanim! plant crates to the local government of Brgy. 128 Smokey Mountain in Tondo, Manila, last September. The planting crates will help expand the range of crops grown in their local community garden, a collective effort of their residents to build a sustainable source of food. Another ongoing project of the MPIF is the Shore It Up Movement, an environmental rescue and revival program that initiates various activities to preserve and protect Philippine shores, waters, and marine life. Among its regular activities are beach clean-up drives, mangrove planting, giant clam seeding and moving, and artificial reef restoration.

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