The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has entered into a partnership with Japanese auto giant Mitsubishi Motors Corp. (MMC) in a bid to boost government efforts toward sustained environmental protection and sustainable development.

The DENR and MMC recently signed two agreements in which the multinational car manufacturer, under its corporate social responsibility program, vowed to support the agency's environmental projects, particularly its plan to create ecological economic zones through sustainable integrated area development (SIAD).

Both agreements were signed by DENR Secretary Gina Lopez and Undersecretary for International Affairs and Foreign Assisted Projects Jonas Leones, and MMC president and CEO Osamu Masuko.

In one of the accords, MMC agreed to cooperate with the DENR in identifying and implementing measures in support of the SIAD initiatives.

Using the SIAD approach, the DENR would assume the developmental role of providing sustainable livelihood while teaching environmental conservation to affected communities.

The MMC is expected to establish mangrove and bamboo plantations covering a total of 100 hectares within a period of 4 to 5 years.

Lopez said she was "thrilled" to sign the agreements because the MMC will "not only help make the country more beautiful, but also adapt to climate change."

Aside from planting bamboos and mangroves, Leones said the MMC also agreed to "look for other avenues to help the DENR protect the environment, specifically in tackling air pollution and solid waste management."

At the same time, Lopez disclosed that MMC will be donating an electric-powered vehicle worth US$25,000 to the DENR to promote the use of vehicles run by renewable energy in the country.

"With this kind of car, you won’t have any more gasoline expenses because you can charge it the whole night for 7-8 hours. If you charge it for half an hour, you can already go as far as 150 kilometers," Lopez said.

According to the DENR chief, the car can also serve as a generator in emergency cases when there is no electricity in a particular area.

"If we have more cars like this, we can probably clean the air in Metro Manila and save money on gas,” Lopez pointed out.
Masuko, for his part, said the MMC was more than willing to help the DENR further promote environmental protection.

He said the MMC believes that protecting the environment is an important part of corporate responsibility to society.

"As a car manufacturer, we would also want to cooperate in solving certain environmental issues and renew the resources we consume,” Masuko said. ###