SUBIC BAY FREEPORT - The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA), through its Ecology Center, has launched an awareness campaign on climate change adaptation in upland communities adjacent to the Freeport.
SBMA Chairman Roberto Garcia said that the campaign aims to educate residents on the impact of climate change world-wide, as well as in their locality, and how to minimize it.
The campaign includes educating residents on how to prevent forest and bush fires and what they can do to help bring back the healthy environment and the forests, Garcia added.
Accordingly, the campaign, which started at Barangay Mabiga in the town of Hermosa, Bataan, was a kick-off to a series of seminars to be held in four barangays outside the perimeter fence of the Freeport. These include the upland communities of Mabiga, Tipo, Bangal, and Pastolan, which serve as buffer areas under the SBMA's "social fencing" program.
Participants in the one-day awareness campaign seminars included members of farmers' associations in the four upland communities.
Garcia explained that the local farmers' associations serve as a vital component of the SBMA Community-Based Forest Management (SCBFMA) system, which watches over the forests and helps protect them against bush and forest fires, illegal cutting of trees, and illegal hunting of animals and birds near and inside the fenced areas of the Freeport.
The SCBFM program also aims to promote the biodiversity of the forests through tree-planting projects and the implementation of livelihood programs that are not dependent on forests such as kaingin, and charcoal-making.
Hermosa Mayor Danilo Malana, who joined the launch of the awareness campaign, lauded the SBMA and the team from Ecology Center for conducting the awareness campaign, saying it was very timely.
"It is very important that we start protecting and preserving our fast diminishing forest areas that give livelihood and food to many of our farmers," he said.
The mayor, who is known as an advocate of environmental protection, added that there is a need to boost the awareness of residents on how badly climate change affects people's lives and livelihood so that they could start adapting to it to secure their future. (30)