PTT revives denuded forest in Bataan

“The best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago. The second best time is now.”

If only every person who can read this old Chinese proverb  will be driven to act such kindness to the environment, the world will definitely be a better place than it is right now.

The good news is, there are still good Samaritans out there who advocates saving the environment and their efforts have definitely put a big smile on the face of Mother Earth.

Take the case of the denuded portion of a tropical jungle inside the Bataan National Park (BNP) that is slowly getting back to its natural form with trees starting to grow once again.  Brighter days are seen ahead for the said area after 300 volunteers from both government and non-government organizations trekked to the mountain over the weekend to plant more seedlings as part of the second phase of PTT Philippines Corporation’s (PTT) tree-planting activity dubbed as “Gas Up for a Tree” project.  PTT Philippines is a local subsidiary of Thai-oil giant PTT.

The project is in partnership with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the National Commission for Indigenous People (NCIP), the National Research Council of the Philippines (NRCP), the Bataan Peninsula State University (BPSU), Mga Bayani ng Kalikasan, Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA), Municipality of Morong, Bataan and Wide Out Technology.

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Secretary Nereus Acosta, Chief Presidential Adviser for Environmental Protection; Wisarn Chawalitanon, President and CEO of PTT Philippines; and Paul Patricio J. Senador, president of PTT Philippines Foundation led other volunteers in planting new trees at the denuded portion of BNP located in Morong, Bataan.

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The three were also joined by Thai Embassy Minister and Deputy Chief of Mission Thanis Na Songkhla, former BCDA Chairman Felicito Payumo, Tarlac Gov. Victor Yap, DENR Region 3 Director Maximo Dichoso, Director Adelina Apostol of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Region 3, Brig. Gen. Raul del Rosario of the Philippine Air Force, and General Manager Rafael Llave of the Bataan Technological Park, Inc.

Several students and volunteers from various non-government organizations, including PTT employees, also took part in the tree-planting activity.

Since the “Gas Up for a Tree” project was launched in May, there are about 2,000 trees now growing in the denuded area of BNP, Chawalitanon said. He added that they expect to plant at least 10,000 trees by end of September and eventually reach the 30,000 target by year 2015.

“This is our way of giving back to Mother Earth and to the Philippines for embracing us (PTT) with the Filipino community,” Chawalitanon said.

“As everyone knows, PTT is a Thai-owned company but we came here in the Philippines not only to do business but to commit ourselves to help Filipinos in nation-building, including the preservation and protection of the environment.”

“Gas Up for a Tree” is PTT’s corporate social responsibility project that aims to reforest 50 hectares of denuded forest within the BNP, particularly within the ancestral lands of the Magbukun tribe, one of 18 Aeta tribes in Bataan.

Under the project, every purchase of P1,000 worth of PTT gasoline and diesel products commits PTT to plant one tree under the motorist’s name.

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With the help of Wide Out Technology, PTT’s technology partner, the exact location and growth of the tree may also be monitored online.

More than 100 Aeta families from Magbukun tribe also benefited from the project as they were given livelihood as managers of a seedling nursery and caretaker of the trees.

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Apart from tree-planting, PTT Philippines Foundation which was formally created in 2007, also espouses educational and sports development, outreach and disaster relief programs, and community development.

You too can take part in saving the environment.  One way is by participating to PTT’s “Gas Up for a Tree” project where you can have a tree planted and named after you. To know more about the details of this worthwhile campaign, you may visit and like http://www.facebook.com/pttgasupforatreeproject.

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