John Dizon, Jr. and his family have long been responsible custodians of the protected trees in the Tuba, Benguet village. He gladly accepted the responsibility when the time came to do so in order to preserve 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.
Following a year, Mr. Dizon, who is currently the leader of the environmental protection organization Nagawa, Manganese, Liw-Liw, Sadle Agroforestry Assoc. Inc. (NAMALISA), to continue his father’s cause, began cooperating closely with the SM Foundation for a first tree-planting initiative back in 2013.
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.
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, which aims to improve community quality of life by promoting a greener world, greener way of life, and a greener culture.
The FR Foundation prioritizes advancing research aimed at improving the world, advancing technological advancement, developing human resources, and aiding those who are socially vulnerable.
It belongs to Fast Retailing Company. Ltd., a top Japanese retailer and owner of the beloved casual wear label Uniqlo.