Energy firm, army, stakeholders establish mangrove nursery

EL SALVADOR CITY -- Growing mangrove trees and sustaining the availability of its seedlings are the efforts of the stakeholders in Misamis Oriental in protecting the environment and conserve the marine life along the Macajalar Bay.

Recently, energy firm Steag State Power Inc. (SPI), the Macajalar Bay Development Alliance (MBDA) and the 4th Infantry Diamond Division (4ID) in collaboration with the local government of El Salvador City, have heightened the mangrove growing activity along the eastern shores of the province.

SPI with its environmental protection program donated to this city an initial amount of P 127,000 for the establishment of a mangrove nursery at Barangay Molugan here for the propagation of seedlings to support the 15 member local government units belonging to the MBDA for their future planting activities.

Barangay Molugan is a Pawikan nesting site.

Carsten Evers, SPI plant manager in turning over the donation on Tuesday took note of the importance of Macajar Bay as the fishing ground while at the same time the industrial hub in northern Mindanao.

He said that environmental protection is necessary in the midst of industrialization, “that as we go and pursue economic development, also goes our responsibility in preserving our natural surroundings.”

Col. Francisco Pabayo, representing Maj. Gen. Oscar Lactao commanding general of the 4ID, said that the collective effort in the mangrove growing is a positive step towards securing and preserving the wetlands for the future generation, “a sensible thing to do where we in the present generation are accountable.”

Pabayo, who reminded Feb 2 as an observance of World’s Wetland Day proclaimed in Ramsar Convention of 1971 in Iran, underscored the importance of the wetlands, which he said support ecological functions and provide valuable elements – water and fish, supports agriculture, purify water and waste treatment, flood and storm protection- for human survival, notwithstanding that it serves as natural sponges against flood and protects coastlines.

He said that the 4ID in its area of responsibility has been steadfast in looking after the environment and continue its undertakings including mangrove growing.

“We failed to recognize the value of our wetlands until the huge crocodile ‘Lolong’ was captured and later died. The tragic fate of Lolong dramatizes the country’s wetland.” Pabayo said without elaborating.

MBDA is a co-operation among 15 coastal towns in Misamis Oriental and two cities – Cagayan de Oro and El Salvador. They agreed to collaborate and pool their resources to ensure the sustainable development of the Macajalar Bay.

The alliance establishes and sets in motion a bay-wide Integrated Coastal Management program.

MBDA has grown and maintained about more than a hundred hectares of mangrove trees in the different sites in the province while conserving the sea grass areas and does its continuing beach rehabilitation effort.
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