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21 December 2008

Environmentalism in action, not words: Subic locator turns over 'Adopt-a-Forest' project

A Japanese business locator in this free port has turned over to the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) another reforestation project planted mostly with mahogany and narra trees, proving again the continuing commitment to the environment of members of the Subic community.

NIdec Subic Phils., a manufacturer of micro-motors and computer peripherals, "adopted" the 1,000-square meter grassland in 2005, planted it with various trees, and maintained the forest for the past three years under the SBMA's "Adopt-a-Forest" program.

The turnover last Thursday marked the end of Nidec's "adoption" contract, when the trees planted by company employees are deemed to be old enough to be able to survive.

"Three years ago, I was here with my co-workers to plant these trees," recalled Renz Victoria, Nidec plant section manager.

"The time had passed so quickly and now you can see that the seedlings we planted have grown healthy and strong," he proudly noted.

"You can be assured that Nidec will always support and participate in this kind of program that guarantees a better future for our children," Victoria told SBMA Chairman Feliciano Salonga and SBMA Ecology Center manager Amethy dela Llana-Koval during the turnover.

Nidec, which is among the most environment-conscious companies in the Subic Bay Freeport, was among the first investor-companies that joined the "Adopt-a-Forest" program in 2005.

Its adopted forest lies about a kilometer's walk away from the road going to the Aeta village of Pastolan, which is located on the slopes of Mt. Sta.. Rita.

Scattered in nearby slopes are the reforestation areas being maintained by other Subic locators like Subic Power, Subic Bay Press Corp, Wimpy's, Morong Jeepney, and Vision Air.

Community groups and civic organizations like the Rotary club of Olongapo City and the Subic Bay Press Corps also have adopted reforestation projects, which are to be turned over soon to the SBMA.

Like the other adoptive groups, Nidec planted and maintained the area using its own manpower and resources, assisted only by the Pastolan Forest Conservation Group. The Pastolan group is composed of Aeta workers from the SBMA Ecology Center, who help out with reforestation projects near their upland community.

Some members of the Pastolan group had intercropped papaya and banana with trees like mango, thus also providing income to the Subic natives.

Chairman Salonga said during the turnover that the participation of various locators and community groups in the SBMA reforestation program is a concrete example of the environmental commitment of various stakeholders in the Subic Bay Freeport.

"You probably have heard recent accusations that the SBMA and the Subic community in general don't care much about trees," Salonga told Nidec employees and Aeta tribesmen present in the simple turnover rites.

"Well, here is our response. Here is our concrete response to all the criticisms — that Subic's brand of environmentalism consists of actions, and not words alone," Salonga added.

Ecology Center's Koval, meanwhile, said that some 20,000 seedlings are planted each year in the Subic Bay Freeport Zone through the "Adopt-a-Forest" program and the agency's annual tree-planting projects.

Moreover, Koval said, the SBMA is "exporting" tree seedlings to various groups in the nearby communities who undertake reforestation projects. (SBMA Corporate Communications)

Photo Caption: BOUNTY FROM THE LAND: NIdec plant manager Renz Victoria (left) presents fruits harvested from the company's reforestation site to (left-right): SBMA Chairman Feliciano Salonga, Pastolan Aeta leader Florentino Bonifacio, and SBMA Ecology Center manager Amethya dela Llana-Koval.

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