BPI Foundation, the social development arm of the Bank of the Philippine Islands, and the Hineleban Foundation have joined forces for a “rainforestation” project in the mountain ranges of Amai Manabilang, Lanao del Sur, as well as a transformational business partnership with the indigenous peoples (IP) and Muslim residents of the project site.
Present at the signing were BPI Foundation Executive Director Fidelina Corcuera, Sustainability Officer Diane Figueroa, Hineleban Foundation Chairman Urooj S. Malik, and IP Support Officer Neil Konrad D. Binayao III.
“With its rich biodiversity, natural resources, and agricultural potential, Mindanao was known as the land of promise and food basket of the country. However, due to the loss of forest cover, Mindanao has experienced a drastic decrease in rainfall and river water resulting in extended dry spells. Conversely, Mindanao suffered from massive flooding during the rainy season. Both conditions resulted in a decrease in agricultural productivity and a reduction in crop cycles leading to poverty and hunger in the region,” said Malik. “’Rainforestation’ of the mountains of Mindanao is the only long-term solution to attaining food self-sufficiency.”
“This is BPI Foundation’s first project located in ARMM, specifically in Lanao del Sur, one of the region’s poorest provinces. Through our three-year partnership with Hineleban Foundation, we hope to restore 100 hectares of denuded watershed in Lanao del Sur,” said. Corcuera. “Another important component of the project is the capacity development of the IPs and Muslims living in the vicinity of the watersheds on food security and sustainable livelihood. Some of the livelihood initiatives include production of industrial crops such as coffee, cacao and bamboo. These initiatives will help the communities increase their income and become more financially empowered even after the project ends.”