Business Environment & Climate

QBE grants P3.7 M to Million Trees Foundation, breaks ground on Green Park

QUEZON CITY – The Million Trees Foundation, Inc. (MTFI) has received a major boost with the entry of a new institutional partner – QBE Insurance Group – which has allotted ₱3.7 million for various projects of the foundation highlighted by the groundbreaking of the QBE Green SanQtuary Park on March 11 at the La Mesa Watershed in Quezon City.

Present during the event were MTFI Chairman Emeritus and former MWSS Chairman/Administrator Gen. Reynaldo V. Velasco (Ret), MTFI President and Executive Director Melandrew 
T. Velasco and officers of QBE Insurance Group namely: Samir Kumar, Group Chief Shared Services Officer; Arthur Araña, Senior Vice President – Finance; Jo Cruz, Head of Communications and Branding / Head of GSSC Foundation; Donna Grande, SVP – People; Ariel Magtoto, GM/SVP – Insurance Services; Ton Cabiao – Head of Risk; and, Kai Cabuslay – Head of Technology (Interim).

In his welcome remarks, General Velasco said: “We welcome the establishment of the QBE Green Park that will not only serve as a refuge from the hustle and bustle of everyday life in the concrete jungle nor simply a place where children can play and create their own adventure, but also as a place where everyone one, young and old, can reconnect with nature and rejuvenate the soul.”

For his part, QBE Samir Kumar expressed elation on the partnership with the Million Trees Foundation even as he committed to support various projects and activities that are aligned with sustainability, climate change and the journey to planting 10 million more trees until 2030.

“QBE Insurance Group through its QBE Foundation aims to improve the resilience and preparedness of communities through long-term partnerships. With its focus on creating strong, resilient and inclusive communities, QBE Foundation has its forest for water and environmental 
protection programs. Both programs involve tree and mangrove planting activities,” added Mr. Kumar.

The QBE Green Park will cover 1,600 square meters in the 5-hectare area allotted by the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) to MTFI.

As envisioned, the park will have outdoor playground equipment such as slides, covered areas with seats for park visitors, and greenhouses.

The greenhouses will accommodate seedlings of endemic trees and fruit-bearing trees. These seedlings will be used by QBE Foundation in its tree 
planting activity and other partner stakeholders of the foundation.

Tree-planting is one of QBE’s CSR projects aimed at environment protection and sustainability program of the Australian-based insurance firm. 

The use of endemic trees in reforestation is noteworthy. While the Philippines is considered a country with a high flora endemism, it is threatened by anthropogenic impact endangering the 
existence of endemic species.

The QBE Green Park is part the third phase project of MTFI since its founding in 2021, after the SMC Multi-Purpose Hall (Eddie’s Barn), the construction of which was funded by San Miguel 
Corporation. Aside from the groundbreaking event, QBE -SM North volunteers also participated in a re-bagging activity for narra saplings for planting in this year’s tree planting starting this June to November.

QBE Insurance Group is the latest in the list of MTFI institutional partners among these are DENR, Manilla Water Company, Inc., Maynilad Water Services, Inc., San Miguel Corporation with its subsidiary Luzon Clean Water Development Corporation, Santa Clara International, Grundfos, and Nestle Philippines. The Million Trees Foundation is a non-stock, non-profit organization and the partner non-government organization of MWSS in the continued implementation of the Annual Million Tree Challenge (AMTC). Since its kick-off tree-planting activity at Ipo dam in 2017, around 7.8 million trees have been planted in critical watersheds vital to the water supply in MWSS coverage area.