MAKATI CITY, Philippines, 13th February 2020 – Metro Pacific Investments Foundation (MPIF), the corporate social responsibility arm of Metro Pacific Investments Corporation (MPIC), signed an agreement with the Local Government Unit (LGU) of Marinduque, to elevate environmental awareness and protect the marine biodiversity of the province.
Shore It Up! (SIU) is a program created for coastal communities with a purpose of raising environmental awareness, providing livelihood assistance, protecting and propagating mangroves, and conserving the country’s marine resources. It is an award-winning environmental sustainability movement commemorating its 12th year of providing initiatives and support to coastal communities. It chose Marinduque as its new SIU community partner due to the province’s geographic location as a center of marine biodiversity.
The signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between Marinduque through its Congressman, Representative Lord Allan Jay Velasco and MPIC, through its Chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan, jump-starts the adoption of SIU, MPIC’s flagship environmental program. This includes the formation of the Marine Protection, Inspection and Conservation Guardians and the implementation of underwater and coastal clean-ups. SIU will also develop a program that protects over 2,000 hectares of mangroves, purposefully raising awareness on conservation efforts within the province.
“I am pleased that we have institutionalized collaboration among our member companies with different stakeholders from government, academe and civil society to rapidly respond to socio-economic issues of our country, as well as to proactively support activities towards community development,” said Pangilinan. “We, as a business, strive to fulfill our share of the responsibility to mitigate the effects of climate change – a goal that we are slowly attaining through this cause.”
In response, Congressman Velasco said, “The province of Marinduque is very much pleased that Shore It Up! and the MVP group decided to implement their MPIC Guardians Program here in our island, so that our bantay dagats can serve with authority as better stewards of our seas to heighten the protection and conservation efforts in our province.”
Efforts to Reduce Ecological Impact
Marinduque is now the eighth SIU site in the country. A popular destination among local and international dive aficionados, the island also attracts tourists for its rustic, calm and blissful atmosphere.
As with popular tourist attractions, Marinduque experiences its share of pollution and man-made threats, resulting in negative effects to both underwater and coastal living.
Under the MOU, SIU plans to earmark specific efforts, as well as sustainable programs that will benefit not only the environment, but the local community of Marinduque as well.
Similar to other SIU projects all over the country, MPIF aims to conduct a provincial-wide coastal and underwater clean-up, as well as set up a cadre of Marine Protection, Inspection, and Conservation (MPIC) Guardians in the island. SIU also plans to make a significant impact in the coastal areas by increasing community involvement through developing environmental awareness and providing programs for sustainable ecotourism.
“We are glad to make progress in connecting the communities of Puerto Galera and Marinduque to form a strategic brotherhood to protect the Verde Island passage, which is increasingly threatened by illegal and destructive fishing practices, pollution, unsustainable land use and irresponsible tourism,” said Del Rosario. “For more than a decade, we have seen communities who adopt SIU’s programs record improving economic gains and increased food security.”
Also present were Marinduque Vice Governor Hon. Romulo Aguinaldo Bacorro Jr., MPIC President and CEO Jose Ma. K. Lim, MPIF President, Melody M. Del Rosario, MVP Media Bureau Managing Director Mike T. Toledo, PLDT-Smart Foundation President Esther O. Santos, One Meralco Foundation President Jeffrey O. Tarayao, Maynilad AVP for Government Relations Marie Antonette De Ocampo, MPTC Vice President & Group Controller Rizza B. Latorre, and Makati Medical Center Foundation Executive Director Marge Barro.