To further their conservation and reforestation efforts, One To Tree (RAFI OTT) program and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources Region 7 (DENR 7) formalized their partnership through a memorandum of agreement (MOA) signing on June 15, 2022 at The Kabilin Center, Cebu City.
The MOA aims to strengthen RAFI OTT and DENR 7’s efforts in forest and landscape restoration activities such as reforestation, forest enhancement, forest parks, and agro-forestry. It also aims to promote awareness on the importance of biodiversity conservation and wider participation in environmental protection programs.
As the alarming effects of climate change and deforestation continue to be felt around the world, RAFI Chief Operating Officer, Riella Mae Christa Guioguio emphasized the need to further expand and continue conservation efforts.
“With the recent typhoon Odette, we know that climate change will happen and is happening. But at least we can slow it down through what we can do with our various programs. We believe that enabling communities to be resilient, we want our communities to be adaptable to climate change through our One To Tree Program. We are here for the long haul. This process will really take time. It might not happen in our lifetime, but we will plant the seeds and hopefully the next generation can benefit from this,” shared Guioguio.
With this partnership with DENR 7 at hand, RAFI OTT commits to help engage communities to protect and rehabilitate the environment through the establishment of tree nurseries and plantations together with partner communities. The partnership paves the way for more opportunities of synergy and collaboration between DENR 7 and RAFI OTT.
“For me this is an initial platform for us to work together. This is an understanding that RAFI and DENR are collaborating, and this would become a foundation to a stronger and a more productive working relationship,” said Anthony Dignadice, RAFI OTT Executive Director.
Partner DENR 7 Regional Executive Director Paquito Melicor, Jr. also expressed his gratitude to RAFI OTT for making the partnership possible. Melicor highlighted the shared responsibility towards preserving the environment and biodiversity conservation. He noted that with the growing number of people and organizations that are aware and doing their respective efforts, the overall status of the environment in Central Visayas has partially improved.
“We at the DENR want to thank RAFI… We are very hopeful that as we move forward in Central Visayas we do not limit it to Cebu only; because Central Visayas consists of Bohol, Negros Oriental, and Siquijor. We want to engage your (RAFI OTT) help as we look also on the other provinces of Region 7, especially ang Siquijor. Hopefully there will be some improvements as we move forward,” shared Melicor.
As part of the celebration of the Philippine Environment Month, this partnership symbolizes a ray of sunshine: shining light onto the budding collaboration between two organizations working toward the common goal to protect, conserve and uplift our environment.