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In 1999, the Foundation entered a partnership with Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewage System (MWSS) through its environmental program, Bantay Kalikasan, to rehabilitate and, ultimately, save the La Mesa Watershed. The decision to take on this project was based on La Mesa's environmental impact in Metro Manila, as the city's last rainforest of its size and a significant source of drinking water. Before the commencement of the rehabilitation project, up to 75% of the forest cover had been destroyed. The land was also victim to illegal loggers, poachers, and people engaging in slash-and-burn activities (kaingin).
With the continuous efforts of Bantay Kalikasan, partners, and donations from eco-warriors globally, La Mesa has significantly improved in recent years.
La Mesa is a critical ecological asset in the Philippines. Apart from being the "last green lung" of Metro Manila, absorbing 3-5% of the carbon emissions of the metropolis, it is also a source of drinking water for 12 million people. The watershed reservoir helps regulate and mitigate flooding during heavy rainfall. While it has significantly improved in the past years, there's more work ahead to ensure 100% rehabilitation and even maintenance afterward.
Additionally, La Mesa is foreseen to encounter more challenges given the rapid urbanization and population growth in Metro Manila, thus requiring proactive management among its stakeholders.
Bantay Kalikasan has been at the forefront of the restoration of La Mesa and its 2,700 hectares. The program has raised millions for the watershed's revitalization. It has also been a critical player in the upkeep of La Mesa EcoPark – a 33-hectare recreational park with attractions promoting environmental awareness and conservation.
Bantay Kalikasan promotes various volunteer opportunities and activities in La Mesa, such as tree planting, vermicomposting, biking, eco camps, and more. Corporations often participate in these activities as part of their CSR initiatives and to help support the rehabilitation of La Mesa. Bantay Kalikasan also continues to maintain strong partnerships with MWSS, the Quezon City government, and other key stakeholders to ensure the continued protection efforts for La Mesa.
Your donation will power La Mesa watershed's many protection and rehabilitation efforts. Join us in preserving this precious resource for a sustainable future. Be an eco-warrior today!