Group to rehabilitate Sarangani mangrove forest

May. 29, 2007

SARANGANI — Because of the extensive media coverage on May 3s mangrove planting activity in Sitio Asnalang, Maasim, Sarangani Province, several organizations signified interest in engaging in a similar project. And so on May 22, 2007, people from different faiths converged in the area to help rehabilitate its mangrove forest.

About 1,100 bakawan babae (Rhizophora mucronata) mangrove seedlings were planted by some 200 participants from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP SarGen Chapter), the local government unit (LGU) of Maasim, the USAID-funded Philippine Environmental Governance 2 (EcoGov 2) Project, and the community of Sitio Asnalang. To formalize their commitment, all the participants signed a covenant signifying their willingness to care for the mangrove trees they have planted.

This multi-sector group also conducted a coastal clean-up and was able to collect an estimated 230 kilos of waste, composed mostly of plastics. According to Damsali Sappayani, barangay kagawad of Tinoto, most of these garbage, which came from the city and nearby towns, were carried to Asnalang shores by waves. These garbage get entangled in the mangroves and constrict their growth, he said. We really appreciate what these people are doing to help our community. They can rest assured that we will take care of these mangroves that they have planted, he added.

We saw on TV what EcoGov, KBP and the LGU of Maasim have done to help bring back the mangrove forest in the area and we were inspired to do the same. As part of our social commitment and as our way of instilling to our young members the value of protecting our environment, we collaborated with these groups in conducting this activity, says Danilo Paredes of the Church of Jesus of Latter Day Saints.

Bong Tuballes, Municipal Environment and Natural Resources Officer of Maasim, said he was thankful to EcoGov, which brokered the partnership between his LGU and the media people. He also thanked the SarGen KBP members, led by Fr. Angelito Angel Buenavides of DXCP radio station, for their relentless efforts in promoting good environmental management and protection. He said the news coverage of the mangrove planting done earlier caught the attention of so many groups. In fact, there are other groups which wanted to participate in another mangrove planting.

In spite of the scorching heat of the summer sun, the participants, especially the youth eagerly participated in the activity, which was part of the youth summer camp of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I dont mind the heat because I enjoy what Im doing and I know Im also helping protect Mother Earth. I am happy that I am able to join this activity, said 18-year old Gilbert Aniversario.

Sitio Asnalang is a predominantly Muslim community. This undertaking is definitely a milestone in Maasims history of forest protection as people from different religions gather here to help us rehabilitate our mangrove forests. We have shown that even if we belong to different faiths, we can work together to achieve a common goal, said Mayor Aniceto Lopez Jr. of Maasim. Mayor Lopez also underscored the importance of mangroves in protecting coastal areas from giant waves and the significant role they play in fish production by serving as breeding and nurturing grounds to various marine species.

The rehabilitation of Maasims mangrove areas is part of the LGUs forest land use plan, developed with assistance from EcoGov project. The project in Southern and Central Mindanao is implemented with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources in Region 12.

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