6,000 volunteers to join “Operation Kontra Baha” kick off

October 22, 2009 11:16 pm 

DAVAO CITY, Oct. 23 – About 6,000 volunteers from all walks of life will clean up 17 kilometers of riverbank and plant 20,000 malibago seedlings along the Talomo River, in this city on Saturday.

Businessman Gregorio “Boy” Sarmiento, Knights of Columbus Council 9573 Grand Knight and the project’s prime mover and chief architect, said students, business, church and civic groups, Army, Navy, and Coast Guard personnel, plain folks, some with their entire families in tow, have committed to rid the river-banks of trash and plant trees in what can be the biggest simultaneous effort to protect the riverside communities along Barangay Talomo from damage wrought by flooding.

Sarmiento said the first of a series of riverbank cleanup and tree-planting along the Talomo, Matina and Davao Rivers, the activity is part of the "Operation Kontra Baha" Program, a flood-mitigating project initiated by the Knights of Columbus Council 9573 based in Barangay Catalunan Grande.

Launched last September 16, Operation Kontra Baha is a five-year, multi-sectoral and inter-agency program aimed at mitigating the damage brought by floods to communities along Davao City’s major rivers, he said.

He said the ceremonial tree planting will be at Barangay Los Amigos at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday.

He said Los Amigos was hard-hit when floodwaters from the Talomo River washed out its fish ponds in June this year.

To be cleaned up and planted with trees are riverside barangays of Tugbok, Ula, Sto. Niño, Tacunan, Mintal, Catalunan Pequeno, Catalunan Grande, Talomo Proper and Los Amigos.

The program’s major partners are the regional offices of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the Department of Agriculture (DA), Naval Forces Eastern Mindanao, Philippine Navy; Southeastern Mindanao Coast Guard District, Philippine Coast Guard, Davao City Liga ng mga Barangay and Mountaineering Federation of Southern Mindanao.

Davao City Vice-Mayor Sara Z. Duterte, along with the heads of the partner agencies will do the ceremonial tree-planting. (PNA) FFC/JSGD/lvp

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