Mangrove planting highlights Earth Day celebration in Eastern Visayas

April 22, 2015 9:14 am 

TACLOBAN CITY, April 22 – As the nation celebrates Earth Day on Wednesday, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in Eastern Visayas has lined up activities designed to draw attention to the important role that mangroves play in protecting the region’s coastal communities.

The DENR, together with Gina Lopez of the ABS-CBN Foundation as their private partners, the local government of Palo in Leyte, the Philippine National Police, Philippine Army and Philippine Coast Guard, launched the Beach Forest and Mangrove Tree Planting in Salvacion village in Palo town on Wednesday.

DENR Regional Director Leonardo R. Sibbaluca said this year’s team “Earth Day Everyday, Everywhere for Everyone,” is significant in light of the magnitude of destruction wrought by the 2013 super typhoon, the strongest tropical typhoon ever recorded.

Typhoon Yolanda has shown the value of mangrove forests in saving lives and property during typhoons and storm surges. The typhoon undoubtedly was an instant education for the people on what storm surges are, and as a rude awakening of sort on the state of our coastal communities and their lack of protection from these natural events,” Sibbaluca stressed.

As a result, the national government has allocated PHP1 billion to the DENR for a mangrove and beach forest development project. While intended for calamity-prone areas nationwide, the bulk of this amount will go to Eastern Visayas which bore the brunt of Typhoon Yolanda.

Some 33.75 million seedlings of beach forest and mangrove trees are up for planting, covering 13,500 hectares in Eastern Visayas under the expanded National Greening Program.

“We hope everyone now appreciates and understands, more than ever, the importance of protecting and rehabilitating our mangrove forests,” Sibbaluca said.

“Mangroves protect us not only from strong waves and storm surges, but also help clean the air and water along our coastal zones, and provide food security and livelihood to the communities,” he added. (PNA)

LAM/SQM/JAZMIN BONIFACIO

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