The Authority of the Freeport Area of Bataan (AFAB) and the GN Mariveles Coal Plant (GMCP) have signed a public-private partnership agreement to jointly reforest an estimated 48 hectares of the Mariveles non-watershed forest area.

“The reforestation project will benefit all stakeholders and locators in the Freeport since it will balance the industrial and economic development with environmental protection. The program will also help in mitigating global warming,” AFAB Chairman Deogracias Custodio said.

Under the memorandum of agreement, the Freeport will designate and allocate a site for the Reforestation Project, which is part of AFAB’s and GMCP’s corporate social responsibility program.

In an interview, GMCP Senior Vice-President Ariel Punzalan said that the administration of the power plant allotted PHP8.750 million for the reforestation program.

GMCP will also introduce a six-year reforestation development plan for the project.

To launch the environmental program, around 10,000 cashew and coriander seedlings will be planted this year on about ten hectares of the designated non-watershed forest area, said Maripi Zita Racelis, the Forestry Supervisor of GMCP.

The FAB is the emerging fashion manufacturing hub of the Philippines as it possesses a budding cluster of companies producing high-end brands of garments, apparel, shoes and accessories, like bags, jewelries, among others. Its vision is to be the Freeport of choice in the country by 2020, becoming a center of trade, innovation and sustainable development in Asia and promoting work-life balance, global competitiveness and environmental protection.

fab2 AFAB Chairman Deogracias Custodio (third from left) shakes hands with GMCP Senior Vice-President Ariel Punzalan (second) after signing the memorandum of agreement on the reforestation project together with AFAB Deputy Administrator Emmanuel Pineda (fourth) and GMCP official Robert Racelis.