Baras, Rizal – Leaders of the two organizations signed a Memorandum of Agreement formalizing the partnership between Masungi Georeserve Foundation Inc. and the Philippine Army Jungle Fighters for the protection and reforestation of Masungi and surrounding forest lands.
They were also joined by the Rizal Provincial Police Director Lou Frias Evangelista and the 80th Infantry Battalion Commander Melencio Ragudo at the momentous occasion held at the Silayan Dining Room.
Partnering for Conservation
According to commanding General Rhoderick Parayno, the “[Army through the agreement] wants to communicate that we are serious in our endeavor. Know that we are here today to represent the silent majority who want to contribute.”
The 2nd Infantry Division’s active participation in the project will ensure swift and effective implementation of environmental laws and reforestation efforts. It will also help combat persistent threats in the implementation of the project, such as illegal occupation of forest lands, treasure-hunting and illegal logging.
A Pioneering Project
The Masungi Geopark Project, in partnership with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), seeks to restore almost 3,000 hectares of degraded lands around the Masungi Georeserve through ecosystem restoration, maintenance and ecotourism efforts.
Its goal is to revive the watershed and generate livelihood for community members using the geopark model of combining research, conservation and sustainable development.
To date, more than 18,000 native tree seedlings have been planted in the project area through the help of volunteers and partners from the private and public sector.
During the ceremony, Masungi officers also unveiled a social campaign tackling the issues in conservation at the Masungi Geopark Project. The campaign will also tackle the current issues of irresponsible tourism development.
The campaign is set to launch by June 2018.
*Photos from Provincial Police Office of Rizal.