Reforestation for Metro Manila watershed areas

State-run National Power Corp. is tapping privately-owned power generators to help mitigate the effects of climate change by offsetting carbon emissions through the reforestation of its watershed areas under the Energy Sector Carbon Sequestration Initiative (ESCSI). 

“This program opens the nine watershed reservations under our stewardship to private entities who wish to offset their carbon footprint and contribute to the improvement of the country’s forest ecosystem and biodiversity,”, Napocor’s Watershed Management Department manager Forrester Emmanuel Umali said in a statement. 

The nine watershed areas are Angat Watershed in Bulacan, Buhi-Barit Watershed in Camarines Sur, Caliraya-Lumot Watershed in Laguna, Lake Lanao-Agus Watershed in Lanao del Sur and Lanao del Norte, Makiling-Banahaw Watershed in Batangas, Laguna and Quezon, Pulangi Watershed in Bukidnon, San Roque Watershed in Pangasinan, Tiwi Watershed in Camarines Sur and Albay, and Upper Agno Watershed in Benguet and Ifugao. 

Napocor said that there’s a total of 56,000 hectares of watershed land open for reforestation under ESCSI. 

As mandated by Republic Act 9136 or the Electric Power Industry Act of 2001 (EPIRA), Napocor is tasked to also undertake watershed protection and rehabilitation functions to reservations that support power generation.  

Currently, it is allocated with one-fourth of one centavo (P0.0025) of the Universal Charge – Environmental Charge collected from all electricity end-users. 

“With the support of our private generators or power producers, we can hasten the restoration of the cited areas and contribute to providing livelihood and job employment opportunities in host communities. This will likewise greatly benefit our indigenous peoples in our watershed areas,” Umali said.