BULACAN, PHILIPPINES —- Co Ban Kiat Hardware donated tools and equipment to Forest Foundation Philippines’ partner forest rangers in Mt. Balagbag. The donation was coursed through Forest Foundation’s ongoing project with the Philippine Parks and Biodiversity Conservation Service Inc. (PPBCSI), its grantee.
Amounting to PHP 86,000, Co Ban Kiat Hardware’s donation will help 65 forest rangers in protecting and conserving Mt. Balagbag. The donation reflects their institutional commitment to maximize and improve their role in the conservation of the environment. Lizel Abraham, Special Assistant to the Vice President of Co Ban Kiat Hardware, shared, “We are very grateful for this kind of activity, which enabled us to donate tools that can help the forest rangers protect and conserve the forest. Our commitment doesn’t end here. If there would be a chance to plant trees in this area, we would love to help again.”
Mt. Balagbag serves as the boundary line of Ipo Watershed, which is a critical part of the Umiray-Angat-Ipo Watershed System that supplies 98% of Metro Manila’s water. The forest in Mt. Balagbag is essential in recharging ground water, preventing erosion and oxygen protection.
Raya Corpuz, Project Manager of PPBSCI, said, “The donation will help the forest rangers, especially in the nurturing of the seedlings in Mt. Balagbag. They used to carry buckets of water from the ground to the site. It is a lot of work. Thankfully, their work will now be easier with the water pumps from Co Ban Kiat Hardware.” Mel Rodriguez, Forest Ranger, added, “Hopefully, this will help more seedlings survive the summer heat, so we can reforest the area.”
Aside from water pumps, Co Ban Kiat Hardware also donated tools, such as grass shears, pruners, trowels, cultivators, flash lights, and sprayers. Noe delos Reyes, Forest Ranger, shared, “The forest rangers are grateful for this partnership between Co Ban Kiat Hardware, Forest Foundation Philippines, and PPBCSI, which will make our jobs easier.”
In 2020, Forest Foundation awarded a PHP 3.5 M grant to PPBCSI for the implementation of the Rewilding Mt. Balagbag through Reforestation, Forest Protection, and Ecotourism project. The project supported the hiring and capacity-building of forest guards in law enforcement, reforestation, nursery management and operations, and ecotourism. In 2022, Forest Foundation awarded another grant, amounting to PHP 4.5 M, to PPBCSI to sustain and scale up its work in Mt. Balagbag.
Atty. Jose Andres Canivel, Executive Director of Forest Foundation, expressed his gratitude to Co Ban Kiat Hardware, “Initially, Co Ban Kiat Hardware wanted to plant trees in Mt. Balagbag as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility program. However, during the discussion with PPBCSI, it was observed that the forest guards were in need of tools that could enable them to do their conservation work better. We discussed this with Co Ban Kiat Hardware and we are grateful that they were flexible to accommodate this. They immediately understood that aside from tree growing, it is also essential for us to support our frontliners, the forest guards, in protecting and conserving the forests.”
He also thanked PPBCSI and the forest guards for their efforts to protect and conserve the watershed areas, “We are grateful to PPBCSI and the forest guards for working tirelessly to protect and conserve our forests.”
About the Organizations:
Co Ban Kiat Hardware is the leading distributor of industrial global brands for the Philippines that has access to quality world-class solutions for 100 years.
Forest Foundation Philippines is a non-profit organization that provides grants and technical assistance to organizations that empower the people to protect and conserve forests.
Philippine Parks and Biodiversity Conservation Service Inc. is a non-profit, non-governmental organization whose mission is to conserve Philippine biodiversity through the sustainable development of parks, protected areas, and the restoration of ecosystems.
Note: Direct quotes have been edited for brevity and clarity.