The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and Prime Infra-led WawaJVCo Inc. signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the reforestation of a 1,800-hectare area within the Upper Marikina River Basin Protected Landscape (UMRBPL).

The milestone partnership is in line with the vision and mission of DENR and the Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) framework of Prime Infra that integrates sustainability thinking in resource management and decarbonization strategies.

“We’re very glad for this new effort on the part of the public and private sector to address the very complexity that we are facing in terms of risks for the country. The private sector is among the leading engines of growth for the country, and we would like very much to continue exploring this type of multi-stakeholder partnerships to move the agenda of the Department forward,” said DENR Secretary Antonia Loyzaga.

“We’re very grateful that some of our work in terms of keeping our forests whole and generating new forests will be part of the work of this group as well. Thank you very much, Mr. Razon, and to the group. We hope that this will be the first of many other endeavors together,” the Secretary added.

“This MOU for environmental stewardship between government and private sector reflects the commitment of both parties to develop and implement science-based strategies in support of sustainable development,” said Enrique K. Razon Jr., Prime Infra and WawaJVCo Chairman. “We thank the DENR for making it possible for us to contribute to environmental protection and biodiversity management.”

Secretary Loyzaga and Razon signed the MOU on February 20, Monday, with WawaJVCo President Melvin John Tan and DENR Undersecretary for Policy, Planning and International Affairs Jonas Leones as witnesses. Also present during the ceremonial signing were Independent Director Cesar Buenaventura and Chief Regulatory Officer Donato Almeda of Manila Water, WawaJVCo’s customer; DENR Undersecretary for Field Operations – Luzon, Visayas and Environment Juan Miguel Cuna; and Prime Infra President and CEO Guillaume Lucci and Chief Regulatory Officer Vince Dizon.

WawaJVCo is the developer and operator of the Wawa Bulk Water Supply Project in Rizal province designed to deliver a reliable water supply of at least 518 million liters per day (MLD) to Manila Water and the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System.

The MOU integrates water security, watershed protection, and forest carbon and biodiversity management in the area covering 1,800 hectares.

DENR and WawaJVCo will “design, develop, and establish Afforestation, Reforestation, and Revegetation programs” within the UMRBPL. The said programs intend to generate carbon units, based on internationally accepted voluntary carbon standards, which will enable investments in sustainable social and environmental projects for the communities where WawaJVCo and Prime Infra operate.

The MOU also affirms the commitment of WawaJVCo to exert best practices in stakeholder consultations with and involvement of the local community and indigenous peoples (IPs).

“This 1,800 hectares reforestation will ensure the sustainability of our water supply, while providing a natural carbon sink program and ultimately, protect our environment and support local communities,” said Lucci.

Lucci further said the MOU could serve as a blueprint for a wider implementation of Prime Infra’s nature-based solution program to create value in its other sectors energy and waste management.#