Wetland No. 8 in Barangay Manoc-Manoc is the focus of their efforts.
On March 7, 2019, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources formalized its partnership with JG Summit Petrochemical Corp. (JGSPC) in the agency’s ongoing bid to revive all nine wetlands on Boracay Island. The partnership is part of the Adopt-a-Wetland Program of the DENR-Biodiversity Management Bureau, where the private sector commits to rehabilitate and restore wetlands at no cost to the government. Nine wetlands in Boracay have been identified for the program.
JGSPC, a wholly owned subsidiary of JG Summit Holdings, is the first and largest integrated polyethylene and polypropylene resin manufacturer in the Philippines. In line with its parent conglomerate’s commitment to sustainability, one of JG Summit’s four strategic thrusts, JGSPC fully embraced the opportunity to adopt and rehabilitate the 1.8 hectares of Boracay’s Wetland No.8, to be accomplished in three phases.
Secretary Roy A. Cimatu, who signed the MOA on behalf of the DENR, lauded JGSPC’s acceptance of this great environmental responsibility. “Wetlands are one of the most important ecosystems, primarily responsible for regulating natural water flows in our environment. They contribute to nutrient cycling, soil formation, carbon sequestration, and waste treatment. Wetlands are habitats of our wildlife. They provide fresh water, food, fiber, and genetic material essential for our sustenance,” said the DENR Secretary.
Unfortunately, Sec. Cimatu went on to note, the government cannot guarantee our natural ecosystems’ sustainability on its own. Thankfully, in JGSPC, DENR has found a capable and enthusiastic partner. Drawing attention to JG Summit’s commitment to sustainability and the environment, Sec. Cimatu mentioned a few of its CSR programs, including the One Million Trees project and Cebu Pacific’s Juan Effect program, which, aside from the wetland rehabilitation commitment, “are definitely positive steps towards biodiversity conservation.”
The MOA signing was held at the DENR central office in Quezon City. JGSPC President and CEO Patrick Henry Go and Vice President Marino Agbayani signed on behalf of the company, while the government side was represented by DENR Sec. Cimatu and Biodiversity Management Bureau Director Crisanta Marie Rodriguez.
In his statement, JGSPC President and CEO Patrick Henry Go said, “Being a responsible business that cares for the preservation of the environment, it is incumbent for companies like us to work together with government in efforts that aim to protect and preserve our planet and the environment… Under the project, we will work towards restoring Wetland No. 8 to its original thriving state, as we work hand-in-hand with engineers, environmental scientists and the local community.”
While the project is a significant one for JGSPC, it is but one of the company’s ongoing CSR efforts centered around community building and sustainability. Go stated, “Our company believes that undertaking effective community-based programs helps build and shape the future of stakeholder communities. Over the years, in our experience working in Batangas implementing various environmental programs and initiatives, we have learned many valuable lessons as well as best practices and methods that we believe can be shared with the Boracay wetland rehabilitation team as we undertake this project.”
In closing his speech, Go reiterated the conglomerate’s stand to leave a better world for future generations. “We in JG Summit believe it is possible to succeed in business, without causing harm to the environment and we assure everyone that our company and the group as a whole is committed to rolling out more initiatives to help protect our planet and ensure that our businesses operate sustainably.”
The first phase of the rehabilitation will entail conducting studies on the wetlands, which will be used in the formulation and drafting of a rehabilitation plan, which constitutes the second phase. This plan will aim to enhance the touristic values of the wetland while maintaining its priority ecological functions, such as flooding regulation and water filtration. The implementation of the rehab plan makes up phase three, following a timeline prescribed by the DENR.
Under the MOA, JGSPC will also be tasked with providing suitable employment opportunities for residents of adjacent local communities, as well as shouldering rehabilitation-related expenses. The DENR will provide assistance in the processing or issuance of documentary requirements, and it will also take the lead in identifying the areas where the studies and rehabilitation plan will be carried out; consolidating and analyzing studies; wetland profiling and management planning; developing information campaign materials; and preparing a sustainability plan that will ensure the sustainability of activities in the rehabilitation area.
The agreement is renewable after its initial effectivity period of three years.
(By Pierre Calasanz)