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MTFI, MWSS officials break ground for La Mesa nursery

Outgoing MWSS chairman Reynaldo Velasco led guests yesterday at the groundbreaking ceremony for the Million Trees Foundation, Inc. (MTFI) plant and saplings nursery at the La Mesa Watershed area.

“I am proud to be part of this significant step towards environment sustainability,” Velasco said.

Velasco, who ends his stint today as MWSS chief, initiated the Annual Million Tree Challenge (AMTC) project of MWSS aimed at rehabilitating seven critical watersheds – Angat, Ipo,Kaliwa, La Mesa, Laguna Lake, Umiray, and Upper Marikina, including Manila Bay – that are essential in the water supply chain in Metro Manila and neighboring provinces.

The AMTC is on track, achieving more than its target of four million trees in four years.

“We have to join hands to address the state of our watersheds as these greatly affect our water supply. I am grateful to the proponents of Million Trees Foundation, Inc. (MTFI) for joining together for a noble cause,” he added, emphasizing that water is not only used to sustain basic life but also to give more quality to the way of living.

Velasco also thanked MWSS concessionaires Manila Water, Maynilad, and Luzon Clean Water Development Corporation (LCWDC) as well as other project partners for supporting the AMTC.

“AMTC would not have been as successful without the support of the concessionaires and other civic organizations.”

The establishment of a plant and tree nursery is an integral component of MTFI programs. Under a Memorandum of Agreement between MWSS and MTFI, the latter was granted a site for the nursery in the La Mesa Watershed area. MTFI is the non-government partner organization of MWSS in the implementation of the AMTC.

It will ensure the sustainability of AMTC beyond the project’s five-year duration and was granted administrative and operational authority to develop the project further.

The nursery will serve as support and production arm of the AMTC where seeds of plants and tree species to be transplanted by institutional partners in identified watershed beneficiaries will be germinated.

About 500,000 saplings of narra (Pterocarpus indicus), ylang ylang (Cananga odorata), and bamboo, among others will initially be produced.

According to MTFI President and Executive Director Melandrew Velasco, the nursery is very important in helping the watersheds and planting of trees in terms of rehabilitating the seven critical watersheds areas.

“Tree-planting within the watersheds is critical because if there are no trees in the mountains, our water treatment plants would have to deal with a high amount of turbidity when it rains. This will help us

ensure potable water for everyone,” he said.

Aside from MWSS chairman, also present during the event were incoming Administrator Engr. Leonor Cleofas, incoming Board Chairman Justice Jose Ricafort Hernandez, MWSI President and CEO Ramoncito S. Fernandez, Bulacan Bulk Water Head of Operations Emman Avengoza and Santa Clara International Corporation Founder Nick Linao.

As Velasco ends his tour of duty at the water agency, he will be busy with the Philippine National Police Retirees Association, Inc. (PRAI) which is seeking a seat at the House of Representatives in the May 2022 elections.

He is the number one nominee of PRAI, an organization working for the benefit and welfare of all retired men and women in the uniformed service of the PNP and their dependents.

Topics: Reynaldo Velasco , La Mesa Watershed , Million Trees Foundation
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