For WLG | impact ’23, SyCip Salazar Hernandez & Gatmaitan (Philippines), in partnership with the Department of Natural Resources and the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP), held an orientation on “The Role of Forests in Climate Change Mitigation and Adaption,” for SyCipLaw’s legal and non-legal staff on June 27, 2023.
The orientation featured Forester Lemuel Tolosa of the DENR and Ms. Khairon-Niza Magundacan, Corporate Citizenship and Corporate Social Responsibility Manager of PBSP. Mr. Tolosa discussed the importance of forests and watersheds in addressing climate change, particularly their role as sinks of carbon dioxide and providers of ecological services, and shared about the DENR’s programs Ms. Magundacan discussed the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the effects of climate on the attainment of those goals. In the context of the role of forests in reducing the flow of heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere and in mitigating the impacts of extreme weather events, she highlighted PBSP's various watershed and mangrove rehabilitation projects which its member companies (such as SyCipLaw) may participate in.
The orientation is a run-up to a tree-planting activity that will be undertaken by SyCipLaw with PBSP at the Upper Marikina River Basin Protected Landscape (Marikina Watershed) in August. The Marikina Watershed is a forested river basin which plays a vital role in regulating flooding in the low-lying areas of Metro Manila. In past years, SyCipLaw's WLG | impact projects focused on solid waste reduction, in particular, providing means for its employees to engage in waste reduction and recycling waste at home and at work. Explaining the rationale for this year's activity, the head of SyCipLaw's Corporate Social Responsibility Committee, Jose Florante M. Pamfilo, said "the Philippines is among the world's most vulnerable countries when it comes to climate change, and one of the ways its effects are concretely felt by the average Filipino is through extreme weather events. By joining PBSP's efforts to rehabilitate the Marikina Watershed, we hope to afford SyCipLaw employees an opportunity to contribute in addressing an issue of national and global concern which also affects them in a very tangible way."