Therma South monitoring trees planted in Davao’s Marilog District

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 8 Oct) – Aboitiz subsidiary Therma South Inc. said it is continuously monitoring the trees being planted in 1,000 hectares of Marilog District as part of its compliance of planting one million trees, as mandated by the City Council

In an interview Tuesday, Aboitiz first vice president for corporate services Charles Gamo said the company’s carbon sink management plan involves not only the planting of trees but also the capacity building of their partners.

The council required the power firm to plant trees to make up for the carbon emissions of its proposed expansion of its fluidized bed coal-fired power plant in Toril in 2013.

According to Gamo, the firm is looking at planting one million trees within 10 years, with around 70,000 seedlings already transported to the area.

Gamo said a forester is in the area almost full time to monitor the progress of any seedlings that would be planted to see if the project is sustainable.

“The carbon sink management plan also has a livelihood component for us to see the immediate impact of the tree planting, not just for the nearby communities but also for the entire Davao City,” Gamo said.

He added that the trees to be planted in the area, such as cash crops like coffee and cacao as well as other crops like bamboo, would also help the residents improve their livelihood.

Gamo was in the city during the kick-off of construction of an existing tribal hall maintained by the Matigsalog Council of Elders in Marilog, Davao City (MACOEMADACI) in Marilog proper.

The council of elders comprises Matigsalog organizations in 24 sitios within Marilog.

According to Jason Magnaye, TSI corporate social responsibility manager, the capacity building component of the project would ensure the survivability of the trees being planted in the area since 2013.

“We have been training the indigenous people about more sustainable uses for the trees, so that they would not have to cut these down for firewood or to sell as charcoal,” he said.

So far, around 50 farmers have become beneficiaries of the partnership, which aims to have each partner plant 2,000 seedlings in two hectares of land.

He said the company has allotted P3.2 million since last year for the purchase of seedlings and the conduct of trainings.

“With this program, you don’t just plant. It takes time to train the stakeholders, so it’s going to be capacity building for the first six months of the program until they can set up on their own,” he said.