The University signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Toyota Motor Philippines Foundation, Inc. (TMPF) on January 24 at the Toyota Special Economic Zone in Santa Rosa, Laguna for the development of the Puerto Galera Biodiversity and Environmental Research Outreach Center in Occidental Mindoro.
TMPF donated to UP a check in the amount of PhP630,000 immediately after the signing ceremony.
In a presentation by Dr. Aletta Yñiguez, the committee chair of the project, she said that the Center was envisioned to be a “world-class research and outreach facility showcasing the Philippines’ remarkable biodiversity.” The Center aims to enable “transdisciplinary and synergistic collaboration between experts across UP campuses as well as local and foreign researchers and practitioners.”
TMPF President David Go, in his welcome remarks, revealed that the Foundation’s partnership with UP was in line with the Toyota Environmental Challenge 2050, particularly on the “establishment of a future society that is in harmony with nature.” He further stated that Toyota “would like to share our business practices and facilities with UP as extension of [its] laboratories.”
In his message, UP President Danilo Concepcion said that the earliest record of the University’s research interest in Puerto Galera dated back to 1912, during the term of UP’s first president, Murray Bartlett. Puerto Galera was designated by UNESCO as a biosphere reserve in 1977 and with TMPF’s support, Concepcion added that “UP can help ensure the biosphere reserve’s continued health.”