PA Soldiers Plant Mangroves in Calabanga

Sunday, June 13th, 2010

PILI, Camarines Sur, June 7 - Philippine Army (PA) soldiers recently braved the scorching heat of the sun and planted some 2,000 mangrove seedlings along the shorelines of Cagsao, a coastal village in Calabanga town in Camarines Sur.

Major Harold Cabunoc, 9th ID Spokesperson said that a platoon of soldiers joined the mangrove tree planting activity together with other stakeholders from different organizations, including local residents of Cagsao village.

"We prefer to plant trees that will benefit the people than bombs that will maim and cause the loss of life and property," Cabunoc said.

Started in August 2009, the reforestation project in Cagsao was a success in this coastal village because of the 90 percent survivability of the planted mangrove trees in the area, Cabunoc said.

Hundreds of participants planted on Saturday more than 2,000 mangrove seedlings in shorelines adjacent to the first reforestation site.

The residents of the fishing village of Cagsao have previously complained about the dwindling fish catch due to over-fishing.

Mang Renato, a local fisherman, said that his family relies on fishing and the mangrove trees in the coastlines will attract fishes and crabs.

"I have personally seen the presence of more crabs and other sea creatures a few months ago when the trees we planted last year started to grow," he said.

The village was handpicked as the recipient of the project due to the strong support provided by its local government officials and residents.

Town Mayor Evelyn Yu, together with the barangay (village) officials of Cagsao, came with their family members to show their support to the project.

"We are very thankful to all of our partners for continuously supporting this project. I would also like to credit the residents of this coastal village (Cagsao) for their active participation to protect this future mangrove forest that will contribute towards environmental protection in general," said Yu.

Lt. Col. Erwin De Asis, Civil-Military Operations officer of the 9th Infantry Division and one of the participants, said that he had previously joined similar reforestation projects, particularly in Panay Island.

"It is heart-warming to see that the local people are actively participating in this undertaking. It is the Army's job to assist the people in the various peace and development programs that will benefit them. This is one way to end the communist insurgency problem in our country," De Asis, a veteran of Mindanao's conflict, narrated.

The mangrove tree planting project is supported by a number of cause-oriented groups because who believe that mangrove trees can protect coastal areas from erosion and storm surge during typhoons which is a regular occurrence in the Bikol region. (PNA)