Save La Mesa Watershed and Eco Park!
In 1999, ABS-CBN Lingkod Kapamilya (ALKFI) entered into a partnership with Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewage System (MWSS), through its environmental program Bantay Kalikasan (Environment Watch), to rehabilitate and ultimately, Save the La Mesa Watershed and Dam.
The decision to take on this project was made based on La Mesa’s environmental impact in Metro Manila, as the last rainforest of its size in the city, and major source of drinking water.
At the start of the project up to 75% of the forest cover had been destroyed. Leading up to this, the land was victim to illegal loggers, poachers, and people engaging in slash-and-burn activities (kaingin). It was estimated that around 300 families were informally settled in the area.
La Mesa Today
Today, the La Mesa Watershed and Eco Park is thriving! It is known as the “ green lung” of Metro Manila, absorbing 3-5% of carbon emissions of the metropolis. It is also a source of drinking water to 12 million people.
The Watershed and Eco Park are visited by 400,000 - 450,000 people annually. The Eco Park is a place for relax and recreation, offering activities such as swimming, fishing, bird watching, picnics, and more. While the Watershed, houses the dam, it is also a place for hiking and mountain biking. In 2018, 14,894 students visited the Eco-Academy to become educated and engaged on environmental protection.
With regards to wildlife conservation, there are now 102 from 9 endemic species of trees present in La Mesa. There are now 125 from 25 bird species, and indicators of a healthy environment such as lichens and dragonflies.
The area has also increased in safety. Families that were informally settled in La Mesa were relocated and the forest is now consistently patrolled, dramatically decreasing the incidence of forest fires, and illegal logging.
At ABS-CBN Foundation International (AFI) would like to support the legacy and continued efforts of ALKFI at the La Mesa Watershed and Eco Park.
Historically, we have only engaged our supporters with efforts concerning Bantay Bata, but we would like to expand the scope of projects that our Kapamilya abroad can contribute to. With an ever-growing call for attention to be paid to the impacts of climate change—we wanted to answer this call by sharing an initiative that is so important to the environment, wildlife, and people in Metro Manila.