Cebu Pacific, the Philippines’ leading airline, has partnered with the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. One to Tree program (RAFI OTT) to support the conservation and restoration of mangroves in Cebu.
The two organizations recently signed a memorandum of agreement to enhance a mangrove forest in Barangay Tapon, Dumanjug, Cebu, through the planting of 10,000 mangrove seedlings over an estimated 10-hectare area.
The joint project between CEB and RAFI was initiated on July 22, 2023, with volunteers from both organizations planting the first seedlings in the designated area.
“We believe that nature-based solutions such as this mangrove plantation project have a critical role to play in removing carbon from the atmosphere. This initiative allows us to achieve three objectives – mitigating the impacts of carbon emissions to the environment, improving disaster resilience of coastal communities, and providing livelihood support to the Dumanjug community,” said Alex Reyes, Chief Strategy Officer of Cebu Pacific.
Formerly known as RAFI Biodiversity Conservation Unit, RAFI One to Tree has been active in reforestation and conservation for over two decades, and has attained a survival rate of more than 80% for its native tree-growing efforts. RAFI OTT also assists companies in the service delivery of Environmental Compliance Certificate requirements set by the Philippine Government, as well as helping them achieve carbon sequestration and biodiversity conservation goals.
Through their partnership, which will run for three years, CEB and RAFI will work closely with more than 20 community partners from the Tapon Fisherfolk Association to provide extensive training in the areas of mangrove plantation design, nursery management, mangrove seedling production, site preparation and plantation establishment, and plantation maintenance and monitoring.
Participating association members will also have opportunities to augment their incomes by providing labor for the planting site preparation, plantation maintenance, and purchase of seedlings.
“We are excited to launch this mangrove rehabilitation partnership with Cebu Pacific. Through our shared values towards biodiversity conservation, we will be able to enhance the mangrove forest in the municipality of Dumanjug and build a more sustainable and disaster-resilient community. It truly takes everyone’s help now to build a sustainable tomorrow,” said Anthony Dignadice, RAFI OTT Program Director.
According to scientists from the University of the Philippines, the Philippines suffered the second-worst loss of mangroves in Southeast Asia over a two-decade period. Between 1990 and 2010, the Philippines lost 10.5% of its mangroves.
For many coastal communities, mangrove forests provide livelihoods and critical protection from the onslaught of typhoons. These dense coastline forests are home to diverse ecosystems, where fish populations thrive. Moreover, the mangroves’ dense root systems sequester large amounts of carbon, aiding in mitigating climate change impacts by reducing greenhouse gas levels in the atmosphere. Thus, the preservation and restoration of these marine ecosystems will have a great impact in maintaining the desired ecological balance while also enhancing the resilience of communities in Philippine coastal areas.
Felix Lopez, Chief Human Resources officer of Cebu Pacific, stated that around 40 of the airline’s employees participated in the CEB Mangrove Forest Enhancement and Rehabilitation Project. “Most are Manila-based who spent for their own accommodation. This is a testament that the spirit of volunteerism on sustainability initiatives is very much alive among CEB employees,” said Lopez.
CEB, which is the Philippine leader in propelling decarbonization in the aviation industry, has also begun other initiatives to minimize the environmental impacts of its operations.
By 2028, the airline intends to operate an all-NEO (New Engine Option) fleet that consumes less fuel and reduces carbon emissions. CEB has also incorporated the use of blended sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) in its operations and continues to strengthen its supply network for sourcing SAF.
It also started transitioning to zero emission electric vehicles for its employee shuttle service and is currently evaluating onsite solar power installation to supply renewable energy for its key buildings.
For more information on Cebu Pacific, visit cebupacificair.com
To learn more about the One to Tree program, visit rafi.org.ph/focus-areas/rafi-one-to-tree-rafi-ott