The Cordilleras used to house lush, verdant forests and is the cradle for many of Luzon’s major rivers. Today, less than 50 percent of its total forest cover remains, prompting Globe Telecom to again engage in a greening campaign to save the massive mountain range from denudation.
Together with the Cordillera Conservation Trust (CCT), a non-stock, non-profit organization dedicated to help preserve the Cordillera mountain ecosystem, Globe aims to establish about 20 seedling nurseries in Sitio Labey, Brgy. Ambuklao, Bokod, Benguet and other parts of the Cordilleras using the funds that would be raised from the Globe Cordillera Challenge 3, a fund-raising sports activity scheduled on May 5.
At present, demand for tree seeds and saplings continues to increase, prompting CCT to put up Roots and Shoots Nursery Seedling Program to cultivate and propagate the much-needed plant materials.
“Globe is committed to environmental sustainability, thus, we work toward the protection and rehabilitation of endangered environmental areas like the Cordilleras. By building small plant nurseries through the help of our partner, CCT, we hope to provide not only a possible livelihood source for the communities and public elementary schools where the nurseries will be put up but also make the people value and preserve their home,” said Rob I. Nazal, Head of Globe Corporate Social Responsibility.
Sitio Labey, for instance, was devastated when typhoon Pepeng hit the area in 2009, with its lone public elementary school buried under tons of rock and mud caused by landslide. With their peaceful lives shattered by the powerful storm, the over 300 residents of Labey learned a valuable lesson about the importance of trees in preventing landslides and floods from again consuming what they have painstakingly built over the years.
Deforestation rate in the Cordilleras has risen to alarming levels, resulting in massive erosion and groundwater depletion. Each year, about 300 hectares of the Cordillera forest reserve is lost to fire, illegal logging and land conversion. Increasing deforestation of the Cordillera mountain ranges, which serve as a watershed for the lowland areas of Ilocos and Cagayan regions, would hasten the drying-up of sources of water for domestic and irrigation uses in the said areas.
During the past two years, funds raised from the Globe Cordillera Challenge were used to buy saplings which Globe employees and community volunteers plant in the mountains. In 2010, donations from the biking activity reached P261,000 equivalent to 15,000 seedlings while last year’s P600,000 total donation was able to buy seedlings for 30,000 trees.
The Globe Cordillera Challenge 3 will take over 250 bikers from Burnham Park in Baguio City to Mt. Cabuyao Summit in Tuba. This will give them a chance to explore the local environment which showcases the ecosystem and culture of the Cordillera region.
Since the activity is not a race, it is open to bikers of all skill levels as long as they are fit to do mountain biking. Bikers may send their P1,000 donation via Globe GCASH or direct to the CCT bank account.
However, even non-bikers can help build seedling nurseries by depositing their donations to the Cordillera Conservation Trust BDO Account (Account name: Tignayan Para Iti Konserbasyon Ti Kordilyera; Account number – 5180031673) or by sending it through Globe GCASH (text DONATE<space>amount<space>CORDI and send to 2882).
Major sponsors of the activity are Globe Tattoo@Home and Non Pareil International Freight and Cargo Service, Inc. while other sponsors are Gerry’s Grill, BPI Globe BanKO, and The Manor Camp John Hay. It is also being supported by the Philippine Mountain Biking Forum, Philippine Mountain Biking Community and partner bike shops, namely: All Terra Cyclery, Bike One, Bike Worx, Gran Trail, John Wilkie, King’s Bicycle Store, Paulina’s Cycle Center, Life Cycle Bike Shop and Sabak Sports and Adventure Bike Shop.