Deputy Speaker and Valenzuela City 2nd District Representative Eric M. Martinez, and officials of NLEX Corporation led by President and General Manager J. Luigi L. Bautista and Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) led by Regional Executive Director Jacqueline A. Caancan have spearheaded the planting of 3,181 saplings at the Harbor Link Interchange aimed at contributing to cleaner air and healthier ecology along the expressway.

Also present during the event were the barangay officials from Paso de Blas and Gen. T. De Leon headed by Chairman Lucy Nolasco and Chairman Alfren Caiña, respectively.

Saplings of Bougainvillea, Igem Dagat, and Palawan Cherry are among those planted within the cloverleaves of the said interchange to help reduce carbon emissions from vehicles plying the NLEX.

“I envision NLEX to be the greenest highway, not only in the country but in the whole world—the greenest highway with zero carbon footprint,” Martinez said.

The Congressman regarded global warming as the biggest threat to mankind. He noted that “we [people] are preoccupied with so many things but we have to look back and see for ourselves that nature needs care, nature needs us. We don’t need to go against it but we have to live together.”

More than just improving the aesthetics of the expressway, the greening initiative intends to strengthen the parties’ commitment in reversing the effects of climate change not just in the country, but in the world.

DENR-NCR Regional Executive Director Caancan said the planting event is timely as it coincides with the celebration of the Philippine Environment Month and the Philippine Arbor Day.

“More than the aesthetic value of the project, what we are excited about is the greater value of these trees that would be planted. Let us join hands in keeping, protecting and nourishing our environment,” Caancan added.

For his part, Bautista stated, “This project will not only beautify the NLEX Harbor Link Interchange, but most importantly, it will help strengthen our efforts in building the road to a greener future.”

He appreciated Rep. Martinez for proposing the noteworthy venture and DENR for planning the project.

“We believe that our duty is not only to make travel easier and more convenient for economic growth but also to do it in an environmentally sustainable manner,” Bautista said.

The “#GreeNLEX: Greening the NLEX,” which has been ongoing since 2006 to mitigate the effects of global warming and environmental imbalance, is a vital part of the tollway company’s corporate social responsibility program.

NLEX Corporation is a subsidiary of the Metro Pacific Tollways Corp. (MPTC), the tollways unit of Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC).