Planting dreams with ‘Grow Trees Community’ in Benguet

John Dizon, Jr. of Benguet-based environmental conservation group NAMALISA plants trees in support of SM Foundation’s and Fast Retailing Foundation’s Grow Trees Community project.

Like his father before him, John Dizon, Jr. and his family have been long-time stewards of protected trees in their community in Tuba, Benguet. When the time came for him to take up the mantle, he did so willingly to honor his father’s legacy.

“My father passed away in 2012. It was then that we found out that the area he is managing in collaboration with the government was part of a community-based forest management program,” said Mr. Dizon.

A year later, Mr. Dizon, who now heads Benguet-based environmental conservation group, Nagawa, Manganese, Liw-Liw, Sadle Agroforestry Assoc. Inc.  (NAMALISA), started working closely with the SM Foundation for an inaugural tree-planting campaign back in 2013 to pick up where his father had left off in his advocacy.

With the impact of climate change more felt in recent years, Mr. Dizon shared the importance of planting more trees in communities to thin out air pollutants in keeping the air fresh and people healthier. The trees which his father planted also helped prevent soil erosion and landslides caused by earthquakes.

He nurtures a dream that some of his children will take after him to help protect the environment. Getting closer to that dream, one of his sons is eyeing a career in forestry, a nod to his father’s chosen field.

To further this advocacy, Mr. Dizon supports the reforestation initiative of SM Foundation, Inc., the social good arm of SM and the Fast Retailing Foundation (FR Foundation), a general incorporated foundation in Japan through the Grow Trees Community campaign.

The project aims to plant and grow forest trees such as the Benguet pine, Alnus or Calliandra and Coffee trees to also help create livelihood opportunities for the community by working closely with People’s Organizations such as NAMALISA in Tuba, Benguet.

People’s Organization NAMALISA plant trees at the launch of Grow Trees Community in Tuba, Benguet

The proponents teamed up with SM Supermalls and government partners such as the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Department of Agriculture, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, Department of Trade and Industry, Department of Science and Technology, Philippine National Police, Philippine Information Agency and the local government of Tuba.

Grow Trees Community was previously launched in Nasugbu, Batangas and Macabebe, Pampanga.  Across the three locations, the project aims to plant over 200,000 seedlings and propagules.

It is in support of the SM Green Movement that seeks to improve the quality of life of communities through sustainable solutions to promote a green planet, green living and a green culture.

FR Foundation focuses on promoting research designed to help make the world a better place, spurring technological development, nurturing human resources, and supporting socially vulnerable individuals or groups.

It is part of Fast Retailing Co. Ltd., the leading Japanese retail company that owns well-loved casual wear brand, Uniqlo.

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