MPIC, Maynilad team up with LLDA to protect Laguna de Bay
Metro Pacific Investments Corporation (MPIC) and Maynilad Water Services, Inc. (Maynilad), together with other companies in the MVP group, signed a memorandum of cooperation (MOC) with the Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA) to jointly protect the Laguna Lake and its surrounding provinces, cities, and towns.
This cooperation is solidified through the Laguna de Bay Welfare Awareness or LAWA program spearheaded by MPIC under its Gabay Kalikasan advocacy and stresses the critical role that the Laguna Lake plays with respect to the social and economic development of the region. LAWA aims to consolidate the group’s efforts in promoting awareness and establishing various programs in line with LLDA’s mandate to “transform Laguna Lake into a vibrant economic zone showcasing ecotourism by addressing the negative impact of watershed destruction, land conversion and pollution”.
The Laguna de Bay Region covers 77 tributaries and is endowed with rich natural resources. Laguna Lake alone, is home to a variety of organisms that comprise its biodiversity pool. Of note are the 31 species of fishes belonging to 16 families and 19 genera, the most dominant and important species of which, are the Therapon plumbeus and Glossogobius giurus (white goby), 154 species of phytoplankton, 36 species of zooplankton, and 24 species of macrophytes. Other organisms thriving in the lake include different species of mollusks, crustaceans, and birds that feed on the lake’s resources. In addition to this, it is also a vital water source that is used for irrigation, hydroelectric power generation, as a transport route, a venue for recreation, livelihood, and domestic water supply.
Given the importance of the lake to Metro Manila’s ecosystem, MPIC and LLDA both recognize the need for collaborative efforts and partnerships between the public and private sectors for the sustainable development of the Laguna Lake for the benefit of present and future generations.
“Protection of the environment is not just the government’s responsibility, it’s also the private sector’s responsibility to do their part to help,” said MPIC Chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan. “Through this LAWA Initiative, we wish to reiterate the group’s support, particularly Metro Pacific, to LLDA and their efforts in protecting Laguna Lake from the many factors that could cause its demise.”
To formalize this partnership, a virtual signing event was held on August 23 and was attended by key representatives from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, LLDA and the MVP Group.
To introduce the Program, an awareness campaign video hosted by Gabay Kalikasan Volunteer LAWA advocate Dominic Roque was also featured in the event.
MPIC President and Chief Executive Officer Jose Ma. K. Lim said “Shortly after we took over Maynilad in 2007, we already saw the importance of Laguna de Bay as a source of domestic water supply for Metro Manila and its environs. It goes without saying that this vital water source needs to be preserved and protected. We look forward to this collaboration, as it will allow the MVP group to align with LLDA and consolidate its initiatives into a more strategic and coordinated action plan for the benefit of the lake, its tributaries and its communities.”
DENR Undersecretary Rodolfo C. Garcia highlighted in his message that “The DENR welcomes this MOC that ensures the usefulness of this lake and its watershed for future generations. I thank and congratulate LLDA, MPIC and the rest of the MVP Group for this partnership. We hope that this will inspire others in the private sector to partner more productively with us and our attached agencies.”
“Our water treatment facility’s production capacity can be affected by the varying raw water quality of the lake. We have had to incorporate technology upgrades including reverse osmosis, use of Distributed Control System and automation in our plants to address algal blooms and spikes of organic and inorganic matter reaching levels that are unprecedented over the past 10 years” stressed Maynilad President and Chief Executive Office Ramoncito S. Fernandez. “Rather than investing additional funds to keep upgrading our treatment technology, we think the more sustainable option is to protect the lake.”
In accepting the partnership, LLDA General Manager Hon. Jaime C. Medina said “You took the initiative which we welcome and accepted, because you share LLDA’s vision and mission to achieve the Sustainable Development of the Laguna de Bay region. Through the LAWA program and GABAY advocacies for a sustainable Philippines, you have chosen Laguna de Bay as one of the vital ecosystems to protect and nurture. Effective today and with due respect to Mr. Manuel V. Pangilinan, you will be our MVP, the Most Valuable Partners of LLDA in the protection and conservation of Laguna de Bay.”
MPIC and Maynilad, through LAWA will further align with LLDA to identify key areas of collaboration. Initial priority areas include the promotion of waste water management systems to help address the lake’s algal bloom problem, organization of clean-up drives for the tributaries, and the establishment of programs to hamper the proliferation of water hyacinths, the most damaging aquatic plant worldwide, currently covering approximately 20% of Laguna de Bay.
“Ecosystems such as Laguna de Bay support all life on Earth. The healthier our ecosystems are, the healthier our planet and all of us will be,” said Chaye A. Cabal-Revilla, MPIC Chief Finance, Risk and Sustainability Officer. “LAWA will be one of our anchor programs under Gabay Kalikasan because we strongly believe in LLDA’s strategic objectives. We are all one in our purpose of contributing to national development and uplifting the lives of our fellow Filipinos.”
Other MPIC Group Companies supporting this initiative include MetroPac Water Investments Corporation, Meralco Powergen Corporation and Global Business Power Corporation.
The commitment to protect and rehabilitate Laguna de Bay through its LAWA initiative is aligned with MPIC’s efforts to contribute to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), particularly SDG 6 Clean Water and Sanitation, 11 Sustainable Cities and Communities, 13 Climate Action, 14 Life Below Water, and 15 Life on Land. It is also in support of the United Nations’ Decade of Ecosystem Restoration which aims to prevent, halt and reverse the degradation of ecosystems on every continent and in every ocean.
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