GROWING up in a community of fisherfolk, it’s no wonder mangrove trees have a special place in Agnes Padin’s heart.
Mirth was clear on the 54-year-old’s eyes as she animatedly told SunStar Cebu about their catch of prawns and shrimps that come in tenths of buckets and basins in their village.
“Tungod sa mangroves sa amo, pwede na gud namo kamuton nalang og dakop ang mga pasayan. Di sad mi mahadlok mupuyo sa daplin sa dagat kay mupugong man sa dagkong bawod ang mangroves. Ingun ana mi ka swerte maong amo sila gi-ampingan sukad pa gyud sa una,” she said.
Aside from providing food and habitation for birds and marine animals, mangroves help prevent shoreline erosion, storm surges and even tsunamis.
It also help stabilize sediments, trap pollutants and maintain good water quality through filtration.
This adoration led Padin to cross around 90 kilometers from her home in Jetafe, Bohol to the neighboring island of Cebu to join a Japanese private firm’s celebration as it reached its 10 million mangroves in 10 years mark yesterday.
The Kanepackage Group of Companies (KPGroup) has successfully achieved its goal to plant millions of mangroves with a survival rate of 86 percent in a span of nine years, as a thrust to protect the environment, particularly the coastal areas.
Since launching KPGreen Earth in 2009 as part of its corporate social responsibility (CSR), the firm has already covered a combined land area of 289 hectares with at least 10.1 million mangroves.
In those nine years, KPGroup has rehabilitated and planted mangroves in Olango Island, Banacon Island of Bohol, Tanjay City in Negros Oriental and Badian town in Cebu.
Yoshikazu Kanesaka, president and chief executive officer of KPGroup, said reaching their 10 million mark is just a “milestone” to more efforts in reforestation and marine life conservation in the future.
“We will continue to help protect the environment. We will be expanding in other locations abroad, too such as in Vietnam and Thailand, among others. I am very happy to create an impact as we protect the earth,” he told reporters.
Established in 1976, KPGroup is known globally for manufacturing and selling various types of cushioning products for cargo and packages.
With the nature of their business, Kanesaka said people will easily associate them as “top producers of solid waste.”
With KPGreen Earth, he wants to change the negative mindset of the public and encourage them to do their part as well in protecting the environment.
“This is a ceaseless business and goal, until we reach our 20 millionth mangroves. It’s important for us to conserve nature by taking a look back and appreciate what we have now, maybe not for us but for the future generation,” Kanesaka said.
To strengthen its CSR programs, KPGroup yesterday signed a covenant commitment with their partners and community stakeholders at the Shangri-La Mactan Resort and Spa.
In response, Department of Environment and Natural Resources 7 Director Engr. Gilbert Gonzales said that achieving climate change resiliency lies in everyone’s shared responsibility.
Philippine Economic Zone Authority Director General Charito Plaza, for her part, said they will be creating more economic zones and transform them to “green zones” for a more eco-friendly industry.