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8M trees planted amid Covid

Not even the Covid-19 pandemic could stop the 10 Million Trees in 10 Years (10M in 10) for a Greener Negros Movement from pursuing its goal of planting, growing, and maintaining at least 10 million trees to restore the forests in Negros Island.

The Movement, that was catalyzed by Lopez-led geothermal leader Energy Development Corporation (EDC), honored its partners via Zoom celebration, on the theme “High Five at 5” for their dedication that resulted in the planting of more than eight million trees in its fifth year this 2020, a press release from EDC said.

“We are grateful to our partners whose unwavering commitment to our common goal of re-greening Negros island was proven as they helped us exceed our five million target number of seedlings to be planted and managed to maintain an average survival rate of 85 percent amid this challenging year,” Norreen Bautista, head of EDC’s CSR team in Negros that manages the company’s 10M in 10 contributions, said.

“The health crisis brought about by Covid-19 has put the spotlight even more on the need to keep our air clean through decarbonization, that entails planting and growing native trees as well as shifting to renewable energy for our source of power,” Bautista said. “Good thing we have 83 new partners this year that share our vision of making our beloved island greener than ever before.”

The additional sign-ups bring to 252 the movement’s total number of partners, as of this month, the press release said.

In its anniversary celebration, 10M in 10 honored some of its most committed partners that made it possible for them to plant their eighth millionth tree despite the pandemic.

Among the top achievers cited were Alliance of Mangrove Planting Organizations that was able to plant a total of 500,000 seedlings since it became one of the movement’s founding members in 2015; and Jefrey “Jepoy” Palata and his organization, Edmund Rice Industries-Kabankalan, Negros Occidental chapter, one of three chapters of this international foundation supported by Edmund Rice Foundation Australia that was also engaged in mangrove and tree planting until Covid crippled its activities that led to its chapter’s closure.

To keep pursuing his passion for planting native trees, Jepoy came up with a climate change module that involved planting a total of 1,000 native tree seedlings in his area with the help of his friend, Fr. Jude Garceniego, head of Sharing with the Poor is Always a Grace – a HOPE Feeding Charity Work that is now also a 10M in 10 member, as well as other volunteers.

The movement also paid tribute to Rene “Tatay Eti” Vendiola, proud partner and famous rainforestation farmer and owner of Liptong Woodland in Bacong, Negros Oriental, that is known for being a haven of Philippine native trees; and Henry Sy Yap, for his passion for environmental preservation that inspired him to include his 16 hectares Farmville de Bago into a 10M in M reforestation area. Over 100 partners graced the virtual event, representing various stakeholder groups, such as government agencies, local government units, academic institutions, businesses, media, non-government organizations, and other concerned groups and individuals, the press release added.*

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