The SM group, in partnership with Banco de Oro (BDO) Foundation, will be planting 10,000 trees in Antipolo, Rizal as part of its Grow A Million Trees (GAMT) campaign.
This project is being undertaken by BDO Foundation, SM Supermalls, SM Development Corporation, SM Investments Corporation, SM Markets, SM Foundation, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, and the people’s organization (PO) Sitio San Ysiro Upland & Lowland Farmers Association, Inc. in Antipolo.
The GAMT campaign is in support of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ National Greening Program, which aims to plant 1.5 billion trees by 2016. SM Markets has championed the initiative since 2013 and continues to partner with SM Foundation for its implementation. The campaign also encourages shoppers and employees to plant trees and volunteer in different planting activities, nationwide. To date, the SM group has planted almost half a million saplings.
“What makes the SM group’s Grow a Million Trees initiative different from ordinary tree planting activities is that we grow and monitor the trees we have planted,” Cristie Angeles, SM Foundation Assistant Vice President for Livelihood, said. “We ensure that the effort of our volunteers and partner agencies will not be wasted by ensuring our saplings reach full maturity by partnering with POs in the community. In addition to this, we also help create job opportunities for these POs and provide bountiful harvests for them in the succeeding years.”
As part of the GAMT campaign, the SM group taps POs to help maintain, care and nurture the saplings for its first three years. This will also provide them with livelihood as well as crops to sell in the future.
Rose Espinosa, Project Director of BDO Foundation expressed the group’s support to this greening initiative. “All of the volunteers here have come together for a worthy cause which is the preservation of the environment. By planting trees, we are helping mitigate the effects of climate change. As BDO Foundation, we find ways to improve the lives of the communities we serve,” she said.
SM Masinag Supermarket volunteer Mae Mangalili shared that their group’s trek uphill was an eye opener for her, seeing nearby areas nearly devoid of trees. “I hope that there will be more similar activities in other areas. There is a great sense of fulfillment when you arrive at the planting site–holding the tree sapling in your hand and knowing that this plant will someday grow into a big tree,” Mangalili said.
Four more tree-planting activities will be conducted by the end of 2015 in the areas of Samar, Pampanga, Bulacan and Leyte.