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Stepping up for the environment

As part of their role as an institution who provides news and information to the public, Manila Standard Today stepped up on an advocacy to promote social awareness about environmental issues by coming up with the “Green Issue” anniversary supplement in 2009. The company initiated the Adopt-A-Tree campaign, a series of tree planting activities held in Metro Manila and neighboring provinces to bring back the lush green feel of the environment and to decrease the effects of climate change. Manila Standard employees, led by the company president Rogelio Salazar, and corporate sponsors kicked off the event at the Ipo Dam Watershed in Norzagaray, Bulacan on November 28, 2009. The affair was supported by the office of Undersecretary Antonio Villar Jr. of the Presidential Anti-Smuggling and Land Bank of the Philippines. The Ipo Dam watershed is comprised of 6,600 hectares of land, 70 percent of which is denuded. Authorities stated that it may require 20 years of reforestation with at least 1.5 million tree seedlings needed to be planted before the area returns to its original state. Trees can help sustain the cleanliness of the water in the dam. The tree planting activities continued after the initial event. Manila Standard employees went to Halamanang Pilipino in Luneta Park on Dec. 19, 2009 to follow up on their campaign. They were welcomed by Salome Habal, acting executive director of the National Parks Development Committee, together with other officers. The committee was also tasked for the promotion, maintenance and beautification of Paco Park and Pook ni Mariang Makiling in Los Banos, Laguna. Several companies and government agencies sent out their support for this movement. Representatives from the Public Works and Highways Department came to join as well as Bases Conversion Development Authority. Eduardo Malines of the Insurance Commission donated financial assistance for the advocacy, and DENR-NCR’s Ibarra Calderon, chief of the Urban Forestry Division, and Jose Andres Diaz, regional executive director, provided the tree seedlings. According to Rose Tenepere, acting area manager of the park, tree planting activities were encouraged because providing a rich array of trees makes a perfect place for day campers or families who wanted to have an excursion. The park was also a good venue for picnics and fun activities.  Furthermore, the trees in the cities serve as the “lungs” of the urban areas. Corporate partners for the event were International Container Terminal Services Inc., LandBank, PASG, and Chevron Philippines. The following year, Manila Standard continued its initiatives for  Mother Earth and made more partners to push through with the advocacy. On Jan. 23, 2010, ICTSI partnered with Manila Standard to plant molave, kalumpit and other tree seedlings at the Pook Ni Maria Makiling inside the grounds of the University of the Philippines in Los Banos, Laguna. On June 25, 2010, in celebration of Arbor Day, the Manila Standard employees together with Environment Secretary Horacio Ramos returned to Ipo Dam to plant another batch of tree seedlings and to visit the ones they had planted during the initial Adopt-A-Tree activity the previous year. The event was backed up by the Body Shop, First Gen Corp., Mang Inasal, and National Power Corp. On April 16, 2010, in connection with President Benigno Aquino III’s National Greening Program, Manila Standard went to Marikina Riverbanks to give a helping hand to the victims of Typhoon Ondoy and to participate in the rehabilitation program of the government. Marikina was one of the biggest casualties of the typhoon and the city needed support for its greening program. The Advertising, Circulation, Human Resources, Finance, Purchasing, MIS, Editorial, and Production departments of the company went out to join the whole-day activity. Manila Standard readers also had the chance to participate in the campaign by subscribing to the paper under the Adopt-a-Tree program. In gratitude for their support, two seedlings were planted under their respective names. Manila Standard is determined in advocating programs and projects towards the preservation of the environment and encourages other sectors to participate in their cause. The company also supports other nature-related activities as part of their corporate social responsibility program. After all, we only have one planet and it is our duty to take care of it for  future generations. Charmaine Cunanan
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