OVER the weekend, members of the Manuel V. Pangilinan (MVP) Group of Companies extended its Shore It Up (SIU) campaign to Bohol to contribute to the province’s recovery through an underwater and coastal clean-up in Balicasag Island, one of the country’s most sought-after international dive spot.
The group also turned over livelihood programs and offered environmental education in Pamilacan Island and Baclayon.
SIU is the corporate social responsibility project of Metro Pacific Investment Corp. (MPIC) under Metro Pacific Investments Foundation (MPIF). It focuses in underwater and coastal cleanup as core activity.
SIU also engages in various environmental rescue, restoration and revival activities such as mangrove planting, tree planting, giant clam seeding, giant clam moving and artificial reef installation.
The two-day program dubbed “Padayon Bohol” was held in partnership with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) with its Sustainable Coral Reef Environment Management Program (Scremp) in coordination with the Province of Bohol and Department of Tourism 7.
Through the partnership, SIU will help in 34 marine protected areas nationwide and assist in the first three components of Scremp, namely habitat and vulnerability assessment, coral reef rehabilitation and protection and social mobilization and development.
MPIC vice president for communications Melody Del Rosario said Bohol has been chosen as venue of this year’s SIU to help it recover from the destructive earthquake that struck last year and reclaim its standing as one of the country’s main tourist drawers.
Del Rosario noted that this year’s SIU marks a milestone as a nationwide effort, having been held in Luzon, Mindanao and Visayas.
Bohol Governor Edgar Chatto expressed his appreciation to the team especially that the help came at the right time.
“As a province greatly devastated by the great earthquake, we are earnestly hoping for the complete restoration and rebuilding of the province,” said Chatto.
He said programs like this will help Bohol improve the province’s image as an island destination.
While the province is ramping up measures to boost tourism as a strong pillar for Bohol’s economic growth, he urged Boholanos to be vigilant and to actively participate in cleaning the environment and in conserving natural resources.
Geronimo Reyes of the Philippine Coast Guard Auxiliary stressed the importance of teaching the community and the children about mangrove conservation and protection.
“The mangrove forest we have in Bohol is one of the best in the Visayas region. We hope this will be maintained and improved through protection and management,” said Reyes.
He pointed out that mangrove forests not only protect communities from strong waves and storm urges but also provide food security and livelihood to communities, through eco-tourism tours.
Del Rosario announced that Bohol is one of the areas picked by MPIC’s for the mangrove propagation and information center project, a P4 million project that is also implemented in Alaminos, Pangasinan and Del Carmen, Siargao Islands.
“With this endeavor, the MPIC hopes to bring a positive environmental impact, as well as economic and socio-cultural components for a sustainable tourism program in Bohol,” she said.
Volunteer divers from the MVP group of companies conducted an environmental education among school children through the Junior Environmental Scouts (JES) seminar.
The conglomerate also turned over livelihood programs such as hybrid livestock and poultry to the 56 families in Pamilacan Island to help support food sufficiency for the island’s booming tourism industry. The company also provided solar lamps, micro-filtration units and Smart and Sun e-load businesses.
Since its inception in 2009 after typhoon Ondoy, the SIU program has been implemented in key coastal areas such as Mabini, Batangas; Puerto Galera, Oriental Mindoro; Subic Bay Freeport Zone; Hundred Islands National Park in Alaminos City, Pangasinan; and Siargao Island in Surigao del Norte.
SIU tapped 70,000 volunteers and partnered with 292 local and national government agencies, community organizations, companies, and private entities.
In 2013, it was able to clean a coastline totaling to 328 kilometers and was able to protect some 5,000 hectares of mangroves through its CO2DC project at the Bakhaw Mangrove Forest in Del Carmen in Siargao Island.
The corporate backed advocacy campaign is a recipient of several awards including the Public Relations Society of the Philippines’ Anvil Award of Merit for sustained environmental program for the environment from 2011 to 2013, as well as the Best CSR in the Corporate Governance Asia Award in the same period. KOC