FOR the first time, a private firm has linked with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in Northern Mindanao and the local government unit (LGU) of Jasaan in Misamis Oriental for the rehabilitation of degraded mangrove areas in the municipality.

The project was made possible after the signing of a memorandum of agreement (MOA) by Pilipinas Kao Inc. (PKI), DENR-X and the LGU of Jasaan with barangays Luz Banzon and Solana.

The signing of the agreement was one of the highlights during the celebration of World Wetlands Day on February 2 with the theme “Caring for Wetlands: an answer to climate change.”

The MOA was signed by DENR Regional Executive Director Maximo O. Dichoso, Jasaan municipal councilor Rodenio Zayas representing Mayor Redentor Jardin, Junichi Ishikawa of PKI, and barangay chairpersons Bene Pagaspas and Anecito Pacaña.

As an initial activity, some 1,000 mangrove propagules were planted in the coastal area by officials and employees of PKI and government officials from the LGU of Jasaan and barangays Solana and Luz Banzon.

Dichoso said he welcomed the new partnership of DENR with PKI and the LGU of Jasaan.

He is thankful that the rehabilitation of mangrove areas is a corporate social responsibility (CSR) project of the company.

Under the agreement, DENR shall provide technical assistance to the project.

Meanwhile, Zayas said the LGU is supportive of the project as he called on the barangay officials of Luz Banzon and Solana to help in the realization of the project.

Florentin Padayhag, vice president and resident head for Plant Operations of PKI, said the company is pursuing the project to restore in part the biodiversity of the coastal areas of Solana and Luz Banzon.

He said the company had this project before but it was a failure since they planted mangroves by themselves.

Padayhag said he is optimistic that with the support of DENR, the government officials of Jasaan and barangays Solana and Luz Banzon, the project would be beneficial not only for the company but also the surrounding communities.

Meanwhile, officials and students of Capitol University (CU), the LGU of El Salvador City and other sectors joined the mangrove planting to celebrate World Wetlands Day in Taytay, El Salvador City.

The university, under its president Casimiro Juarez Jr., the DENR, religious sector and LGU of El Salvador City and other stakeholders are pursuing the Integrated Coastal Management (ICM) to achieve sustainability at the coastal areas of Taytay.

Aside from mangrove planting, World Wetlands Day was also highlighted with lectures on wetland conservation at Molugan National High School and Taytay Elementary School in El Salvador.

The DENR team also conducted lectures on students at Opol National High School in Opol as tarpaulins/streamers showing the significance of the celebration were posted in different schools in the city.