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PIA Press Release

Villagers cite Army for advocacy on enviro care

by HM Cabunoc

Pili, Camarines Sur (11 June) -- Government soldiers 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 planting participated in by stakeholders from different organizations, including residents of Cagsao village.

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

"Started in August 2009, the reforestation project in this coastal village Cagsao was a success since 90 percent of the planted mangroves has survived in the area," Cabunoc said.

At least hundreds of participants planted over the weekend more than 2,000 mangrove seedlings in the shorelines adjacent to the first reforestation site.

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 with the mangrove trees attracting more fishes and crabs, fishermen do not have to go far to catch them.

"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.

Mangrove tree planting project is supported by a number of cause-oriented groups because they believed that mangrove trees can protect coastal areas from erosion, storm surge during typhoons which is a regular occurrence in the Bicol region. (9ID PA-DPAO/PIA) [top]

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