BBI Foundation donates P3M to help protect, conserve Sasmuan mangroves

THE Bridges of Benevolent Initiative Foundation, Inc. (BBIFI) of the BB International Leisure and Resort Development Inc. (BBLRDI) has committed to help conserve and protect the Sasmuan Bangkung Malapad Critical Habitat and Ecotourism Area (SBMCHEA) in Barangay Batang 2nd in Sasmuan town, Pampanga through its “Adopt a Mangrove Project.”

The project is in cooperation with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Central Luzon, the Sasmuan local government unit and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation.

BBIFI has allotted about P3 million for the construction of bamboo break-wall and other bioengineering interventions to prevent the erosion of the 14-hectare mangrove forest that grew in an islet formed by volcanic sediments from the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo in 1991 at the mouth of Pasak River near the coast of Manila Bay.

The mangrove forest is part of the 3,500-hectare Sasmuan Pampanga Coastal Wetland (SPCW), which was recently declared as Ramsar Site or Wetland of International Importance.

As a Ramsar Site, the area will now be protected as a sanctuary for about 200,000 migratory birds of 90 species that regularly visit the site. The mangrove island in Bangkung Malapad is spawning area for many species of fish and shellfish. The forest has also been shielding the coastal barangays in Sasmuan from storms and the rampage of storm surges.

The BBIFI is headed by businessman-philanthropist Dr. Irineo “Bong” Alvaro, who is also chair of the BBI Group.

According to Alvaro, the objectives of the project are to restore and protect the existing mangrove ecosystem within the SBMCHEA; mitigate the natural occurrence of erosion in the mangrove area; and promote mangrove conservation, importance and protection through bioengineering interventions.

The Memorandum of Agreement for the project was signed last week by DENR Regional Director Engineer Paquito Moreno, Sasmuan Mayor Nardo Velasco, BBI Vice President for Legal Affairs Sheryl Santos-Centeno and BBIFI Corporate Secretary Renato Salvador. (Chris Navarro)


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