By: Lieutenant Colonel Edgard A Arevalo PN(M)
Director, Naval Public Affairs Office
07 February 2010
More than 120 Navy troops from the Philippine Fleet and local volunteers converged today, 06 February 2010 in Barangay Ligtong II, Rosario, Cavite, Barangay San Rafael 4, Noveleta, Cavite and Sitio Pulo, Barangay Tanza, Navotas to participate in a mangrove planting activity dubbed as “Bakawanan 2010”, one of the Navy’s coastal environment programs.
Bakawanan 2010 involves a series of mangrove planting activities conducted by various PN units throughout the country and was initiated by the Department of National Defense to mitigate the causes of natural calamities through instituting sustainable measures managed by the local barangay officials.
Volunteers from four barangays of Rosario, Ligtong I to IV, took part in the planting activity together with representatives from the Municipal Agricultural Office and students of Ligtong Elementary School. Rosario’s Municipal Mayor Jose “Nonong” Ricafrente was the Keynote Speaker during the launching in Barangay Ligtong II.
The nationwide environmental activity took-off with the first phase of its implementation last January 30, 2010 that consists of orientation and information drive campaign designed to educate local communities on the benefits of mangroves and the procedures in planting. The second phase was the planting proper in which 2,500 mangrove seedlings were planted.
“Due to the effects of typhoon “Ondoy” that caused massive flooding in Metro Manila last year, the Fleet is taking active roles in coastal resource management as well as climate change adaptation, said Rear Admiral Geronimo Defensor, Commander of the Philippine Fleet. He further added that it is revisiting its “Adopt a Bay” program, specifically the mangroves rehabilitation and management.
In recent years, the Philippines had an estimated 450,000 hectares of mangroves. This area was reduced to only 138,000 hectares in 1993 then shrank to 117,000 hectares in 1995. Further, it was estimated that our country loses about 8,200 hectares every year. This loss was largely attributed to the conversion of mangroves into fishponds during the 1970’s until now; other factors include reclamation for residential and industrial purposes.