Globe intensifies drive to recover PH’s severely depleted primary rainforests

Globe Telecom, together with Hineleban Foundation, Inc., has launched an intensive drive to educate the public and raise awareness about the severe state of Philippine primary rainforests that only have 1.5% of its cover remaining.

Globe targets to raise at least P18 million by end of 2021 on top of the estimated P12 million already donated from proceeds of the company’s paperless billing campaign and internal fund-raising activities since December 2016.  This time, the company is enjoining its partners and the public to participate in the reforestation drive.  Globe has committed to donate P30 million within a 5-year period to cover 300 hectares of denuded primary rainforests in Bukidnon and Lanao del Sur.

Bukidnon is prioritized as the starting point for rainforestation in Mindanao since it hosts four main mountain ranges that serve as the watersheds for the island and where six major rivers emanate, providing the much-needed water for drinking, hydro power, and irrigation for agriculture food production. Together with two other mountain ranges in Lanao del Sur, these six mountain ranges are vital for food, water and energy security in Mindanao.

Thus, to show the current situation of primary rainforests not only in Mindanao but in the rest of the country, Globe and Hineleban came out with online videos that educate the people on the causes and effects of forest denudation, and ways on how they can help address the problem.

“This initiative is in line with our environmental sustainability policy designed to lessen the impact of our operations to the environment as well as promote environmental sustainability among our customers and stakeholders. It is also in support of the UN Sustainable Development Goals which seek to protect, restore and sustainably manage our forests to stop land degradation and biodiversity loss,” said Yoly Crisanto, Globe Chief Sustainability Officer and Senior Vice President for Corporate Communications.

She added:  “We hope that these videos would serve as an eye-opener to many Filipinos and drive them to take action.  We believe that through small, simple ways, anyone can contribute in preserving and protecting the environment including our rainforests.”

At present, almost nothing is left in the Philippines primary rainforest cover compared to about 70% over a century ago.  This rapid decline is attributed primarily to widespread logging, rampant slash-and-burn practices, conversion of rainforests into farmlands, and the encroachment of human settlements in protected areas.

For instance, logging activities leading to forest denudation were reported as the cause of heavy flooding and mudslides that Mindanao experienced in December last year at the onslaught of back-to-back typhoons, prompting the government to stop all logging activities in the Zamboanga Peninsula.  Without trees to absorb water from the soil, soil erosion as well as flooding usually occur during prolonged rainfall, causing danger to life and property.

On the other hand, during the dry season, there is a significant loss of rainfall and river water for irrigation across almost all of Mindanao resulting in an approximately 40% decrease in land productivity during a 30-year period.  The National Irrigation Administration records showed a 75% decrease in the volume of river waters during the dry season over the last 30 years, thus, affecting crop cycles and food production.

Deforestation also leads to loss of clean drinking water from forest watersheds and to wildlife extinction due to the destruction of their natural habitat.

To help address the problem, Globe and Hineleban have started a drive to rebuild primary rainforests in Bukidnon and Lanao del Sur. This follows the rainforestation model methodology that comprises three major components: reforestation of denuded primary rainforest, food security and sustainable livelihood development.

Since taking care of the environment is the responsibility of everyone, Globe and Hineleban are encouraging the public to take part in the advocacy.   Those who cannot physically plant a tree may have a tree planted on their name for a P100 donation.  To do so, text (your name)<space>(number of trees to donate) to 2158-8733 (TREE).  Interested parties may also visit http://hineleban.org/donate for more payment channel options. Aside from donation, Globe has been urging the public to go digital via paperless billing to lessen their dependence on trees.

Beyond reforestation efforts, Hineleban and Globe have been working together since 2016 to tap local communities to become guardians of the rainforests. The land area, which is the focus of the foundation’s reforestation program, engages more than 21 barangays and is home to the indigenous people of Bukidnon and Maranaos of Lanao del Sur.

This initiative is banked on three United Nations Sustainable Development Goals which promotes Life on Land, Climate Action, and Responsible Consumption and Production. As leader of digital lifestyle, Globe is anchoring its key initiatives on its four-point program: Care for the Environment, Care for our People, Positive Societal Impact, and Digital Nation.