SUBIC BAY FREEPORT — The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) has continued its partnership with the private sector in the restoration and management of mangrove forests in this free port, gaining more support this year for planting and cleanup projects, as well as public awareness campaigns.
SBMA Chairman Roberto Garcia said that the agency has again successfully tapped business locators in the Subic Freeport for sustaining its mangrove restoration program, which was launched by the SBMA Ecology Center early last year.
He said the companies that joined SBMA mangrove projects in the first half of 2016 were Asia International Auctioneers, Philippine Coastal Storage and Pipeline Services, Chowking, Sankyo Denki Corp., and Anscor Swire.
The project participants since January also included the International School of Manila, international delegates to the Asia Forestry Week Convention, and SBMA employees.
“We’re evidently getting more support for this program,” Garcia said, pointing out that five business locators and two schools joined restoration projects last year.
“I believe that through our diligent information program, more and more stakeholders in the Freeport as well as other areas have come to appreciate the importance of mangroves not only in food production, but also in coastal protection and tourism,” the SBMA official added.
He said the project participants helped plant mangrove seedlings, clean mangrove areas and collect saplings, tag mangrove trees, construct seed plots and establish mangrove nurseries, donate nursery materials and equipment, and conduct lectures to local students.
According to Rhea Jane Mallari, senior forest management specialist at the SBMA Ecology Center, project participants have planted saplings at the Binictican, Malawaan and Maritan mangrove areas here.
Mallari said the SBMA mangrove reforestation program followed the natural zoning of species. Hence wildlings of the pototan, bungalon, and saging-saging species were planted at the Binictican site, bungalon wildlings at Malawaan, and nursery-propagated piagau and bakawang lalaki at Maritan.
Based on the Ecology Center’s monioring, it was found out that nursery-raised seedlings had a higher survival rate compared to wildlings that were harvested from the planting sites.
The SBMA initiated the mangrove awareness and restoration campaign in early 2015 to increase public awareness on the importance of mangrove ecosystems; encourage stakeholder participation in mangrove management; protect and maintain the integrity of mangrove forests in the Subic Bay Freeport and ensure their sustainability; and attract research and ecologically-sound activities in the mangrove areas of Subic Bay. (30)
Employees of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority and volunteers from business companies at the Subic Bay Freeport conduct a clean-up drive at the Triboa Mangrove Park in the Subic Bay Freeport last April.