Cebu Pacific (CEB), the Philippines’ leading airline, has partnered with the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. One to Tree program (RAFI OTT) to support the conservation and restoration of mangroves in Cebu.
CEB and RAFI signed a memorandum of agreement to jointly enhance a mangrove plantation in Barangay Tapon, Dumanjug, Cebu. The project aims to plant 10,000 mangrove seedlings across an estimated 10 hectares of mangrove area.
Recently, volunteers from both parties jumpstarted the project by planting seedlings in Bgy. Tapon, Dumanjug Cebu.
“We believe that nature-based solutions such as this mangrove plantation project have a critical role to play in removing carbon from the atmosphere. This initiative allows us to achieve three objectives – mitigating the impacts of carbon emissions to the environment, improving disaster resilience of coastal communities, and providing livelihood support to the Dumanjug community,” said Alex Reyes, Cebu Pacific’s Chief Sustainability Officer.
CEB and RAFI will work closely with the Tapon Fisherfolks Association and offer extensive training in the areas of mangrove plantation design, nursery management, and mangrove seedling production, site preparation and plantation establishment, and plantation maintenance and monitoring.
Income augmentation to participating members of the fisherfolk association will also be given through the labor provided for the planting site preparation and establishment and plantation maintenance, and purchase of seedlings.
“We are excited to launch this mangrove rehabilitation partnership with Cebu Pacific. Through our shared values towards biodiversity conservation, we will be able to enhance the mangrove forest in the municipality of Dumanjug and build a more sustainable and disaster-resilient community. It truly takes everyone’s help now to build a sustainable tomorrow,” said Antony Dignadice, RAFI OTT Program Director.
The partnership will run for three years. It includes the identification, establishment, planting, maintenance, and monitoring of the mangrove plantation in the Municipality of Dumanjug. More than 20 community partners from the fisherfolk association will be involved in the project.
“There are about 40 CEB volunteers alongside our partners who participated in this CEB Mangrove Forest Enhancement and Rehabilitation Project. Most are Manila-based who spent for their own accommodation. This is a testament that the spirit of volunteerism on sustainability initiatives is very much alive among CEB employees. On top of this initiative, we have also transitioned to zero emission electric vehicles for employee shuttle service and are currently evaluating onsite solar power installation to supply renewable energy for our key buildings,” said Felix Lopez, Cebu Pacific’s Chief Human Resources Officer.
In a review of 335 studies conducted by scientists from the University of the Philippines, the Philippines suffered the second-worst loss of mangroves in Southeast Asia over a two-decade period. Philippine mangroves suffered a 10.5 percent decline between 1990 and 2010.
For many coastal communities, mangrove forests provide livelihoods and critical protection from the onslaught of typhoons. These dense coastline forests are home to diverse ecosystems, where fish swim and grow among trees and find needed shelter to reproduce.
CEB, which is the Philippine leader in propelling decarbonization in the aviation industry, has also begun other initiatives to minimize the environmental impacts of its operations.
By 2028, CEB intends to operate an all-NEO (New Engine Option) fleet that consumes less fuel and has reduced carbon emissions. CEB has also incorporated the use of blended sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) in its operations and continues to strengthen its supply network for sourcing SAF.
The company has also transitioned to zero emission electric vehicles for employee shuttle service and is likewise currently evaluating onsite solar power installation to supply renewable energy for its key buildings.