PLDT chairman and chief executive officer Manuel V. Pangilinan (third from left) leads the signing of a partnership between PLDT & Smart and the UP Marine Science Institute. Present during the signing were (from left) UP assistant vice president for academic affairs (for international linkages) Gil Jacinto, PLDT senior vice president/group controller and concurrent chief sustainability officer Chaye Cabal-Revilla, UP College of Science dean Giovanni Tapang, UP MSI director Laura David and Marine Environment and Resources Foundation president Vanessa Baria Rodriguez.
PLDT, Smart back UP research on climate change
Janvic Mateo (The Philippine Star) - February 13, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Telecommunications company PLDT and wireless subsidiary Smart Communications have forged a partnership with the University of the Philippines to support research on climate change and marine biodiversity protection.

PLDT chairman and chief executive officer Manuel V. Pangilinan yesterday led the signing of the agreement with the UP Marine Science Institute (MSI) and the Marine Environment and Resources Foundation.

“PLDT and Smart are taking a more collaborative approach to help create a more sustainable environment,” he said. “Through partnerships like this one with the UP MSI, we hope to do our share in raising awareness about climate change and taking concrete action to combat it.”

Under the partnership, PLDT and Smart will support research initiatives in 24 marine protected areas in the country.

The research projects, according to UP MSI director Laura David, will look at how mangroves and sea grass in these protected areas contribute in efforts against climate change by acting as “carbon sequesters.”

“One of the ways to reduce carbon is by planting trees. But we all know that there is just so much land as the Earth is 70 percent water,” she said in Filipino. “There are a lot more areas where you can plant and restore mangroves, areas where you can protect sea grass.”

She said the mangroves and sea grass areas in the country can contribute in alleviating global warming and climate change as these can absorb carbon that significantly contributes to global warming.

Studies would involve measurement of the extent of the sea grass and mangroves in the country using remote sensing; evaluation of their capacity to store carbon; monitoring of the fish and other biodiversity that could help protect sea grass and mangroves, and the overall assessment of effectiveness of the marine protected areas.

MERF president Vanessa Baria Rodriguez stressed the importance of expanding efforts to protect marine biodiversity beyond coral reefs.

“Majority of the protected areas in our country is really focused on coral reefs but we really wanted to have a network of ecosystems – coral reefs, sea grasses and mangroves,” she added.

PLDT senior vice president and group controller Chaye Cabal-Revilla, also the company’s concurrent chief sustainability officer, said the partnership with UP MSI is part of their Gabay Kalikasan initiative to promote sustainable development.

“The world is facing the consequences of how we have taken care of our environment in previous years. Our sustainability efforts are small steps geared toward creating progressive changes in our environment,” she said.

“This initiative of Gabay Kalikasan aims to help empower and capacitate local communities on coastal and marine environmental management,” added Cabal-Revilla, who is also Smart’s chief financial officer.

The PLDT Group said it is committed to boosting its efforts to conduct business in ways that protect future generations, including the planet.

Aside from Pangilinan, David, Rodriguez and Cabal-Revilla, also present during the signing were UP College of Science dean Giovanni Tapang and UP assistant vice president for academic affairs Gil Jacinto.                                              

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