The city government of Olongapo has spearheaded the planting of around 7,500 mangrove propagules in connection with its local greening program, with the support of the Community of Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) Region III office.
Promoting sustainable development is a top priority of Olongapo Mayor James “Bong” Gordon Jr. in his administration’s development plan called HELPS.
HELPS stands for Health, Housing, Environment, Education, Labor, livelihood, Peace and Order, Social Welfare and Sports.
In a report to Mayor Gordon, City Supervising Agriculturist Jhobal Sebarrotin said that of the 10,000 mangrove propagules given by BFAR for the project, some 7,500 were planted last month at the Banicain river, West Bajac-Bajac and along Matain Bridge and the Kalaklan river.
Sebarrotin said the remaining 2,500 mangrove propagules will be planted soon, stressing that planting mangroves is beneficial for the coastal resource management project of the city.
According to CENRO Atty. Marife Castillo, mangroves are highly productive ecosystems which do not only provide a range of valuable forest products, but can also maintain estuarine water quality and play a crucial role in the life cycle of many commercially important species of fish and prawns.
Aside from preventing coastal erosion, mangrove trees also act as sinks which contain pollutants such as sewage and toxic minerals in the waters.
Meanwhile, Mayor Gordon acknowledged the valuable assistance of the following participating agencies in the mangrove tree planting program: PNP Maritime Command, Philippine National Police, Army Reserve Command (ARESCOM), City Fisheries Aquatic Resources Management Council (CFARMC) , Scene of the Crime Operatives (SOCO) , Environmental Sanitation and Management Office (ESMO) Parks and Plazas Management Office (PPMO) , Barangays Kalaklan, West Bajac-Bajac andNew Banicain and SM Olongapo.