GCash and RAFI plant over 1 million trees in Cebu

In a significant effort to combat climate change and support local communities, the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (RAFI) and GCash have planted over 1,150,000 trees across Cebu since 2021. This initiative is part of a collaboration between RAFI’s “One to Tree” program and GCash’s GForest platform.

A Comprehensive Reforestation Effort

The partnership involves three key initiatives, with the first two located in the Luyang Watershed in Carmen, northern Cebu. These projects span 375 hectares and 355 hectares, respectively, covering multiple barangays.

Together, they have seen the planting of 600,000 trees, including native species like bangkal, mamalis, molave, nangka, and narra, as well as fruit-bearing trees such as avocado, cacao, cashew, coffee, guyabano, mangosteen, and rambutan. The tree planting efforts have achieved a high survivability rate of up to 93% as of December 2023.

“The enhancement of tree cover in these areas is expected to improve rainwater percolation, which will increase the water table under the horizon that supplies springs supporting surface water along rivers,” explained a RAFI representative. This improvement benefits the neighboring urban cities of Cebu, Mandaue, and Lapu-Lapu regarding their water supply.

Mangrove Reforestation Along Tañon Strait

The third initiative focuses on planting 550,000 mangrove seedlings in Daanbantayan, San Remigio, and Medellin, municipalities facing the Tañon Strait. This area is the largest marine protected area in the Philippines under the National Integrated Protected Areas System.

As of December 2023, about 60.5 hectares have been dedicated to enrichment planting using several mangrove species, including bakhaw lalaki, bakhaw babae, bakhaw bato, bungalon, miapi, and pagatpat.

Livelihood Opportunities for Local Communities

The project not only aims to mitigate the effects of climate change but also provides livelihood opportunities for local communities.

RAFI has engaged 164 landowners, 1,965 individuals, and 18 people’s organizations in site preparation, tree planting, and maintenance activities. Farmers involved in planting and maintaining mangroves receive incentives, promoting sustainable practices and economic benefits.

“This partnership with GCash allows us to reach more people and enable them to take part in caring for our environment even in simple ways. Through this partnership, people can build forests one tree at a time, and also help in community-building and income augmentation of locals. This is a win for the environment and a win for Cebuanos,” said Amaya Aboitiz-Fansler, RAFI President and CEO.

Celebrating Arbor Day and Expanding GForest

In celebration of Philippine Arbor Day on June 25, GCash will introduce five new tree types available on GForest to be planted by RAFI in Carcar, Cebu. These include molave, mamalis, jackfruit, guyabano, and avocado.

GForest is a not-for-profit initiative that allows GCash users to contribute to environmental efforts by collecting green energy points and converting them into digital trees. These digital trees are then planted as actual trees through partnerships with organizations like RAFI.

“The success of our Cebu initiatives with RAFI proves that by leveraging the power of collaboration and science-based innovations, we can make meaningful progress in our pursuit of a greener and more sustainable world. We are grateful for RAFI and all our partner-organizations, and especially for the dedicated advocacy of our GForest users, for continuing to plant the seeds for a better tomorrow,” said CJ Alegre, GCash Head for Sustainability.


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