JG Summit Holdings subsidiary adopts Boracay wetland
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Gokongwei-led JG Summit Petrochemical Corporation (JGSPC) signed a memorandum of agreement with the Department of Environment and Natural Resoures (DENR) to adopt Boracay Wetland No. 8 in Barangay Manoc-Manoc.
In a statement released on Thursday, March 7, Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu said the JG Summit Holdings subsidiary is an "ideal partner" given its own environmental sustainability projects prior to the partnership.
"[The] government, on its own, cannot guarantee our natural ecosystems' sustainability. We need partners with the resources and long-term vision to collaborate with us," he added.
JGSPC president and chief executive officer Patrick Go said in a separate statement that their whole group, not just the firm, is rolling out initiatives to protect the environment while ensuring their businesses will operate sustainably.
"Being a responsible business that cares for the preservation of the environment, it is incumbent for companies like us to work together with government in efforts that aim to protect and preserve our planet and the environment," he added.
According to JGSPC's website, the company is in a partnership with a religious group and a non-governmental organization to implement environment-related corporate social responsibility (CSR) projects around its complex in Barangay Simlong, Batangas.
JGSPC's CSR projects include a two-hectare "mini-forest" and an artificial reef sanctuary.
It is now the fifth firm to take part in the Biodiversity Management Bureau's "adopt-a-wetland" program. (READ: Boracay: Paradise reborn?)
Lopez-led Energy Development Corporation and San Miguel Corporation adopted Wetland Nos. 2 and 3, respectively. Aboitiz Equity Ventures followed by adopting Wetland No. 4, while Boracay Tubi System Incorporated adopted Wetland No. 6.
Last year, it was reported that only 5 out of 9 wetlands in the tourist destination could be found as the rest were occupied by illegal settlers. (READ: Villanueva urges DENR to declare Boracay as 'critical' area)
Cimatu said that despite being a crucial component in the ecosystem as a "source of natural filter," these wetlands have been neglected when it comes to rehabilitation efforts.
Under a 3-year plan, JGSPC will conduct studies on the 1.8-hectare wetland, which will be used for the drafting of a rehabilitation plan in the second phase.
The DENR said this should include the development of the wetland's "touristic values" while ensuring that it still functions properly as part of the island's ecosystem.
The DENR will be in charge of scheduling the implementation of the rehabilitation plan, which is the last phase of the project.
Aside from rehabilitating the wetland, JGSPC will also have to provide suitable employment to the nearby local communities.
While the partnership would come at no cost to the government, the DENR will still provide assistance in issuing permits, profiling and identifying areas that can be rehabilitated, and preparing a sustainability plan.
Cimatu previously said that the Boracay Inter-agency Task Force would stay to continue the rehabilitation for another year and a half after the island's opening last October. (READ: Supreme Court gives Duterte more power with Boracay case win) – Rappler.com