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The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), through its Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau (ERDB), has partnered with the Energy Development Corporation (EDC) for the conservation of the 11 most critically endangered native tree species in the Philippines.

The partnership was formalized through a memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed by ERDB Director Henry Adornado and EDC Corporate Support Function Group Head and Assistant Vice President Regina Victoria Pascual.

Because of COVID-19 and social distancing restrictions on public gatherings, the MOU signing was done through a Zoom online event held last August 20.

Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu said that through the MOU with EDC, the DENR will be able to “more effectively conserve and propagate native tree species that are vital to sustaining biodiversity.”

Cimatu also said the public can expect the DENR to build more partnerships to protect the environment even with the ongoing pandemic.

“Our mandate in the DENR does not stop even amid a health crisis. We can assure Filipinos that we will continue to partner with other institutions to safeguard the well-being of the environment,” Cimatu said.

Under the five-year MOU, the ERDB and EDC have agreed to collaborate on strengthening the BINHI program, an initiative of EDC that focuses on native tree conservation and aims to rescue and ensure propagation of selected 96 premium Philippine threatened species across the country.

The ERDB-EDC collaboration zeroes in on 11 rarest and most critically endangered tree species, namely, kadalis narig, malayakal, Mindanao narek, pinulog, Palawan narig, narig laot, kanining peneras, Cagayan narek, pianga, mapilig and Samar gisok.

ERDB and EDC will conduct in-situ conservation or the conservation of species in their natural habitats. It is considered the most appropriate way of preserving biodiversity for it protects inhabitants and ensures the sustainability of the environment and ecosystem.

Among others, the ERDB is tasked to coordinate with potential EDC partners for the identification of different tree species, provide assistance in sourcing and propagation of seedlings, and assist in technicalities and protocols for tree planting.

“ERDB is very much willing to respond to the need to conserve our natural resources by providing full support in developing science-based propagation protocols or information on the selected tree species through our research, development and extension centers,” Adornado said.
For her part, Pascual said the EDC looks forward to a successful partnership with ERDB to rescue and secure the country’s native tree species.

“All the outcomes of our five-year partnership with ERDB will not only enable us to capacitate local government units and other organizations to protect these species,” Pascual pointed out. “It will result in more of these trees planted and grown and therefore, more carbon absorbed and cleaner air—a positive impact that we all need during this COVID-19 pandemic.”

ERDB is the principal research and development unit of the DENR that formulates, implements, coordinates and evaluates integrated research, development and extension programs on environment and natural resources.

EDC, on the other hand, is one of the leading renewable energy companies in the country, which includes among its prime considerations the care of the watershed and natural resources within its geothermal reservations. #