Journalists, Residents in Campaign to Protect Mangroves in Philippines Village

May. 07, 2007

The volunteers while planting mangroves. (contributed photo by Hilatio Tan/USAID)

MAASIM, Sarangani Province — In celebration of the Ocean Month, USAIDs Philippine Environmental Governance (EcoGov) Project–implemented with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)–in partnership with the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas – Sargen Chapter (KBP – Sargen), and the local government unit (LGU) of Maasim planted more than 200 seedlings of bakhaw (Rhizophora mucronata, Rhizophora apiculata, and Rhizophora stylosa) in Sitio Asnalang, Brgy. Tinoto, Maasim, Sarangani Province last May 3, 2007.

The activity was participated in by about 60 broadcast media practitioners, student journalists, members of the Maasim LGU, EcoGov, community of Sitio Asnalang and students from the Special Program for the Employment of Students (SPES), a program run by the Province of Sarangani.

As a demonstration of their commitment, the community members, along with the guests from the KBP, the LGU and the schools signed a covenant wherein they promised to help in maintaining the mangroves planted.

The activity was done to help bring back the mangrove cover in Sitio Asnalang, said MENRO Bong Tuballes of Maasim. This is an ongoing activity. So far, we have already rehabilitated 11 hectares of mangrove areas since we started this project. And we will continue doing this until we are able to plant the whole mangrove area of Asnalang, he added. He also said that a nursery has already been established in the area where people who would like to help in the planting could get seedlings.

The mangrove planting activity was an offshoot of the partnership forged between KBP and EcoGov-partner LGUs during a workshop on good environmental governance conducted in January this year for media practitioners and government information officers.

Sitio Asnalang is a predominantly Muslim-populated community. As part of EcoGov, KBP and Maasim LGUs commitment not only in environmental protection but also in nurturing and understanding different cultures of people, an interfaith and cultural dialogue was incorporated in the activity wherein the community had the chance to voice out their concerns, plans and dreams for their sitio. This was done so that other people, through the media, could understand the local communitys aspirations and perhaps be able to provide its members the needed assistance to better their lives.

According to Kagawad Damsali Sapayani of Brgy. Tinoto, their community is generally peacefulChristians, Muslims and Blaans are living in harmony with each other. As part of the community, he also expressed their desire to co-manage the mangrove area in Sitio Asnalang and he pledged, in behalf of his people, that as residents of the area, they will help in looking after the mangroves planted and they themselves will continue planting bakhaw in Sitio Asnalang.

The rehabilitation of Maasims mangrove areas is part of the LGUs forest land use plan, developed with assistance from EcoGov project and the DENR in Region 12.

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