Tablon, Cugman folks benefit from mangroves

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Thursday, May 1, 2014


RESIDENTS in barangays Tablon and Cugman, with the help of students, have taken the initiative to protect themselves from future catastrophes by planting mangroves in the villages’ coastal areas.

“Adtong (storm) Sendong, dili na matugkad ang tubig diri sa amoa, unsa nalang kaha kung wala ang mga mangyum (mangrove)?” said Esterlita Saballero, 61, of Purok 13, Barangay Tablon, who’s been living in the areas since 1992.

Remembering the past calamities brought by storms, Saballero told Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro that in the past years, they planted mangroves before Sendong struck and devastated most of the city’s coastal areas.

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The mangroves that they planted are now big.

“Gina-protektahan mi sa mga mangyum,” she said adding that without the mangroves, the whole of neighborhood in Purok 13 would have been washed away by the storm.

During the storm, there were five houses in front of Saballero’s house that were washed away, she said.

Selling grilled meat (barbecue) as her source of income, Saballero is striving to make both ends meet, for the sake of her granddaughter who will be a second-grader this coming school year.

Saballero thanked the people who planted new batch of mangrove seedlings.

“(Mangroves) maka-sagang sa baybay, ug gapalig-on sa yuta, pabalik pa sa mga isda (can protect the shore, strengthen the soil and bring back the fish),” she said.

Purok 13, Tablon is the boundary between Tablon and Cugman.

As a response of recent disastrous floods in the city, students enrolled in the Ecology class of Liceo de Cagayan University (LDCU) conducted a mangrove planting along the coastline in Zone 1, Cugman, which is just beside Purok 13 where Saballero is residing.

The students, who planted over 500 mangrove seedlings, is headed by their teacher, Dr. Lesley Casas Lubos, research director of the Liceo Mindanao Center for Biodiversity and Conservation Research and Publication Office and also the President of Biology Teachers Association (BIOTA)-LDCU chapter.

“It feels overwhelming to plant because we get to give back to the environment and contribute to protection and conservation to coastal areas,” Lubos said.

The group chose mangroves since it is a specialized kind of species of plant that can withstand loamy and watery soil as its foundation.

Mangroves are the habitat and breeding ground of many kinds of fish. It also helps to protect the people against floods and soil erosion in the coastal areas of the city.

“As long as there is water, mangroves will survive,” Dr. Lubos said.

Planting mangroves has economic and ecological values and contribute to the sustainability of aquatic-ecosystems, Lubos added.

Mangroves purify the water from human waste and pollutants, he said.

“We expect that mapuslan sa mananagat (this is beneficial to fishermen), a buffer zone for the houses and for fish re-spawning,” said Cirilo Pimentel Jr., team leader and fishery coordinator who also helped with the planting.

A buffer zone is created to improve the protection of areas for nature conservation and their importance to biodiversity, Pimentel said.

Irenea Dauba, 47, a resident of Zone 1, said, “makatabang gyud siya (planting mangroves) sa pagsagang sa baha.”

Dauba is the caretaker of AJ Land for 16 years, a private property owned by Ala Rico Lim.

She remembered that during Sendong, the flood passed through the Zone 1 as it exited to the sea and brought debris from neighboring houses.

“Adtong (typhoon) Pablo, wala kay mi na-apektuhan, tungod sa mga mangrove,” Dauba added.

Nathan Hart Bona, one of the students of LDCU and the one who coordinated this project, coordinated with Cagayan de Oro City Local Environmental and Natural Resources (Clenro) for the mangrove seedlings.

The students were happy to contribute to the conservation of the environment and protection of the people living in the coastal areas and also the aquatic-ecosystem.

“Nakatabang na, nag-enjoy pa gyud mi,” the students said in chorus.

The group will continue to plant mangroves throughout the coastal areas of the city.

The next schedule of the mangrove planting will be held at Barangay Bonbon on May 14-16 with an estimated area of five hectares. (Lynyrd Alexsei N. Corrales/XU DevCom Intern)

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on May 01, 2014.

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