The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has gained another partner in its effort to revive all nine wetlands in the world famous Boracay Island.

This developed as the DENR and JG Summit Petrochemical Corp. (JGSPC) sealed their partnership on Thursday with the signing of a memorandum of agreement (MOA) for the rehabilitation of Boracay’s Wetland No. 8 located in Barangay Manoc-Manoc.

JGSPC is a subsidiary of Gokongwei-led JG Summit Holdings, and is a leading supplier of innovative world-class petrochemical products and solutions in the Philippines.

Secretary Roy A. Cimatu, who signed the MOA on behalf of the DENR, welcomed the adoption of the wetland by JGSPC as a “positive step towards biodiversity conservation.”

He noted how wetlands have been among the most neglected and impaired ecosystems despite their importance in regulating natural water flow in the environment.

“Government, on its own, cannot guarantee our natural ecosystems’ sustainability. We need partners with the resources and long-term vision to collaborate with us,” he said.

He then called JG Summit “an ideal partner” for the DENR with its corporate social responsibility programs, which included its One Million Trees Project and Cebu Pacific’s Juan Effect Program.

Cimatu commended the company for agreeing to science-based assessments and development plans that would be designed to allow the natural flow of water and effluents, as well as restore the wetland’s natural vegetation.

The MOA signing was held at the DENR central office in Quezon City, with Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB) Director Crisanta Marie Rodriguez signing alongside Cimatu. JGSPC president and CEO Patrick Henry Go,and vice-president Marino Agbayani signed the MOA on behalf of the company.

The partnership is part of the BMB’s Adopt-a-Wetland Program where the private sector commits to rehabilitate and restore wetlands at no cost to the government. There are nine wetlands in Boracay that have been identified for the program.

Under the MOA, the JGSPC will improve and rehabilitate the 1.8-hectare Wetland No. 8 in three phases.

The first phase will entail the conduct of studies on the wetlands, including bathymetric surveys, profiling, and biodiversity assessment.

The results of the studies will be used as bases in the formulation and drafting of a rehabilitation plan, which constitutes the second phase. This plan will include activities that aim to enhance the touristic values of the wetland while maintaining its priority ecological services, such as flooding regulation and water filtration.

The last phase will be the implementation of the rehabilitation plan based on the timing and schedule prescribed by the DENR.

The MOA also tasks the JGSPC with other responsibilities such as prioritizing adjacent local communities for any suitable employment opportunities and shouldering rehabilitation-related expenses.

For its part, the DENR will provide assistance in the processing or issuance of documentary requirements, including environmental compliance certificate, certificate of non-compliance, other permits and clearances.

The agency will also take the lead in identifying the areas where the studies and rehabilitation plan will be carried out; consolidating and analyzing studies; wetland profiling and management planning; developing information campaign materials; and preparing a sustainability plan that will ensure the sustainability of activities in the rehabilitation area.

The agreement is renewable after its initial effectivity period of three years.

Among the nine wetlands in Boracay, four have been adopted—Wetland 2 by Energy Development Corporation, Wetland 3 by San Miguel Corporation, Wetland 4 by Aboitiz Equity Ventures, and Wetland 6 by BoracayTubi System Inc. ###