DENR National Capital Region signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Megaworld Corporation on the rollout of the Community PanTREE project on Thursday, August 5, 2021.

Under the agreement, Megaworld will host and setup Community PanTREE booths in their malls and distribute free seedlings of fruit-bearing trees and vegetable crops to give interested patrons.

The MOU was signed by DENR National Capital Region Regional Executive Director Jacqueline A. Caancan and Megaworld Corporation Vice President and Head of Marketing and Business Development, Ms. Tefel Pesigan-Valentino. Standing as witnesses are Assistant Regional Director for Technical Services, Engr. Ignacio R. Almira Jr., for DENR National Capital Region, and Ms. Ma. Aurora D. Pastolero for Megaworld Corp.

Forester Arturo G. Calderon, Chief of the Production Forest Management Section (PFMS) and his staff and counterparts from Megaworld Corporation, were also present in the ceremonial signing.

The Community PanTREE project is DENR National Capital Region’s contribution to efforts to assist Metro Manilans deal with, among others, quarantine fatigue and food security, through urban gardening.

“We want to help people to be productive during these critical times, for them to have sustainable sources of food, and to minimize their pandemic-induced stress at the same time by encouraging them to plant and start nurturing nature,” RED Caancan explained. Several studies, she adds, have shown the effectiveness of exposure to nature—to green vegetation in particular—in reducing stress.

“Being in the forest, hearing all the sounds that come from the forest—birds chirping, rustling leaves, gurgling brooks—the play of sunlight through the leaves, the fresh, clean air, all these things give us a sense of comfort. They ease our stress and worry,” said RED Caancan. “And having a garden, however small, is the closest we can get to simulate that feeling of being in the forest,” she concluded.

The project was first launched on April 22 in time with the celebration of Earth Day and has since been replicated by other DENR offices.

Eastwood Mall at Eastwood City, Quezon City; Venice Grand Canal Mall at McKinley Hill, Taguig City; and, Arcovia Mall at Pasig City will be hosting the Community PanTREEs. Those who want to avail of free seedlings of fruit-bearing trees and vegetables may visit said malls after the termination of Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) in Metro Manila. ###