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Massive mangrove planting seen to strengthen E. Visayas coastal areas

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by Restituto A. Cayubit

Tacloban City – The massive mangrove plantation initiated by the government will strengthen the protection of the coastal areas in Eastern Visayas against the rise of sea water or storm surge due to strong typhoons.

DENR-8 Regional Director Leonardo Sibbaluca told reporters in an interview that more coastlines in Eastern Visayas will be planted with mangroves as the Secretary Regina Paz “Gina” L. Lopez of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is pushing for a massive mangrove plantation nationwide.

Mangrove and beach planting in Tacloban City. (Restituto A. Cayubit | Manila Bulletin)

Mangrove and beach planting in Tacloban City. (Restituto A. Cayubit | Manila Bulletin)

Lopez in her recent visit to this city told reporters in an interview that she is pushing for a mangrove plantation in coastal areas suitable for mangrove growing nationwide to protect the coastal communities from the rising of sea water or storm surges during the occurrence of strong typhoons.

The DENR chief cited the protection given by mangroves on coastal communities, saying that “during typhoons the best protection is the mangrove.”

 Sibbaluca said the massive mangrove plantation establishment in Eastern Visayas is to strengthen the degraded mangrove forests along coastlines and make coastal communities less vulnerable to future destruction of more intense typhoons or extreme weather occurrences and the effects of climate change.

The government earlier allotted P1 billion for the mangrove reforestation and beach forest rehabilitation nationwide on top the P6.2-billion budget allotted for the country’s National Greening Program.

Sibbaluca told reporters that his office is in the process of evaluating and assessing all areas and establish more mangrove plantations in places suited for mangrove growing in the region.

New areas that will be found suited for the new proposed mangrove plantation establishment will be an additional to the previous targeted areas for mangrove plantation establishment in Eastern Visayas. He, however, declined to give the number of hectares for this new additional and proposed mangrove plantation establishment because his office is still to “evaluate and assess the suitable areas for mangrove planting.”

Records show that that DENR-8 launched the R380-million Eastern Visayas mangrove and beach forest rehabilitation project on  April 22, 2015, with the target to plant 13,500 hectares of mangrove and beach forest areas along Leyte Gulf areas.

The project covers the coastal areas from Tacloban City to the town of Abuyog including the municipalities of Palo, Tan-auan, Tolosa, Dulag, Mayorga, Javier, and Macarthur, in Leyte;  while for  the provinces of Samar and Eastern covers the towns of Basey and Marabut,  in Samar; and the municipalities of Lawaan, Balangiga, Giporlos, Salcedo, Guiuan, Hernani, and Llorente all of  Eastern Samar.

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