The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Philippines, together with GCash, stand poised to plant some 20,000 seedlings across Ipo Watershed.
The activities are part of WWF-Philippines’ Forests for Water project, which seeks to rehabilitate Ipo Watershed. The watershed, located in Norzagaray, Bulacan, supplies 96% of the water for Metro Manila. Threats such as erosion and illegal and destructive practices still threaten parts of the watershed, however.
WWF-Philippines partner and fintech powerhouse GCash has supported the Forests for Water project since June, 2019. Through their program, GCash Forest, they hope to plant 365,000 seedlings across the country, with 120,000 committed to the slopes of Ipo Watershed.
Despite the pandemic, WWF-Philippines is committed to planting all 20,000 seedlings within the year. Restrictions imposed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic have made it difficult to continue with tree planting activities. The conservation organization is currently exploring ways to proceed without endangering their staff.
Both GCash and WWF-Philippines have also prioritized the safety well-being of the communities of Ipo Watershed. There have been no cases in Ipo Watershed so far. Both organizations are currently working on protocols that will allow forest rehabilitation work to continue without endangering local communities.
“Now more than ever, we can see that protecting Ipo Watershed is vital not just because it ensures that there is a reliable water supply for Metro Manila, but because it keeps foreign diseases at bay. By protecting these forests, we reduce the chances of another pandemic,” says WWF-Philippines Forests for Water project manager Paolo Pagaduan. WWF-Philippines, together with its partners, has worked toward the protection and rehabilitation of Ipo Watershed since 2017.
“More than ever, we need to ensure the health of this natural buffer, as well as the health and welfare of those who protect the forests for us,” continued Pagaduan.
“In this time of crisis, we are more relevant than ever, as more people are shifting to online and trying out digital platforms for their safety. GCash complements the “Stay at Home” Lifestyle. In line with our vision of finance for all, we will continue to provide accessible, convenient, and a safe way to conduct your financial transactions,” said GCash CEO Martha Sazon.
Since the start of the Philippine lockdown, GCash has seen increased user adoption and a 700% growth in transactions. The fintech company has used its platform to raise awareness for the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as how their application makes online transactions easier.
“GCash Forest, together with WWF-Philippines, hopes to empower all Filipinos to plant, grow, and nurture trees. We recognized the pressing problem on the water supply in Metro Manila. Since most of the users are from the Metro, the team decided to work with WWF-Philipines based on their expertise on nature and biodiversity conservation,” added Sazon.
Activities are on hold in Ipo Watershed, but both WWF-Philippines and GCash stand ready to continue their efforts to protect this vital source of water. Support WWF-Philippines and the GCash Forest project, and help #ChangeTheEnding as they pursue a sustainable future for all.
Dungon trees are now available for claiming through the GCash app.