Calamba City, Laguna - The Department of Environment and Natural Resources CALABARZON Region and Energy Development Corporation (EDC) signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) for the launching of an in-situ conservation project in Lobo, Batangas. The ceremonial signing was held on July 25, 2022 at DENR CALABARZON, Conference Hall, Brgy. Mayapa, Calamba City, Laguna.  

The Agreement was formally signed by  DENR CALABARZON Regional Executive Director Nilo B. Tamoria, and EDC Vice President and Head of Corporate Support Functions Group Regina Victoria J. Pascual. 

The conservation project is under the nationwide greening program of EDC called “Binhi”. It aims to restore denuded forests; preserve and propagate 96 threatened native tree species and protect biodiversity to leave a legacy of the verdant country for the next generation. 

One of the 96 threatened and premium Philippine tree species under the Binhi Program is the Philippine teak (Tectona philippinensis). In the MOA, Binhi EDC and DENR CALABARZON through the Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) of Lipa will collaboratively be responsible for the conservation and protection of the Seed Source Area or the Seed Production Area (SPA) of  Philippine Teak trees. The said SPA is located in Brgy. Sawang, Lobo, Batangas.

Forester Nilo Recillo, the Provincial ENR Officer of Batangas said “Philippine Teak can only be found in the municipality of Lobo”. He explained that the seeds being collected in the SPA will be propagated to produce quality seedlings. 

“With this project, we hope that EDC could help us in terms of assigning technical personnel to help our existing staff there to maintain the area. Itong lugar na ito ay naging project narin ng aming tanggapan para sa isang Arboretum. It is so timely to work with EDC. We are truly grateful for this partnership, and rest assured that we will extend assistance for this project to be successful. ” Recillo added.  

EDC expressed their delight to be partnered with DENR CALABARZON, “We are truly proud to be part of DENR’s program, Tayo Ang Kalikasan because it is aligned with our own mission of the Lopez Group Ridge to Reef Project,” said VP Pascual. 

In his keynote message, Director Tamoria mentioned that after forging the MOA, a series of assessments and monitoring activities will be conducted, and capacity building of the local government and the community will also be given. 

“I am confident that our combined efforts shall result in local habitat protection of Philippine Teak and other threatened species, ngunit kailangan din po nating tandaan na walang magandang plano sa maling implementasyon. Ngayon po magsisimula ang tunay na hamon, kung paano natin isasabuhay ang ating mga nailaan na plano para sa ikauunlad ng conservation efforts ng ating mga threatened species” Tamoria said. 

DENR CALABARZON Assistant Regional Directors Alfredo C. Palencia and Jose Elmer C. Bascos, Community ENR Officer Allan Willard M. Estillore,   EDC Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Department head Nancy Ibuna, and Watershed Management Officer For. Roniño C. Gibe witnessed the signing of the MOA. 

Based on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species, the Philippine Teak is critically endangered. The species produces valuable timber because of its high density and high strength wood. Also, the species can be found in coastal to lowland limestone forest.*###