Molmol the Parrot Fish meets school children and communities

“Hello Molmol,goodbye Nemo!” giggled the mothers huddled together as they watched their children do a theatrical reading of “Ang Dangpanan ni Molmol” (Molmol’s Refuge) in the barangay hall of San Isidro, a coastal village of Surigao City, Sept 3. They were joined by barangay officials and fisherfolk.

But while “Nemo” is an escapist Hollywood movie, “Molmol’s Refuge” is a comics-story book on the condition of marine life in several coastal areas of Surigao provinces.

A day after, Sept 4, school children, mothers and fisherfolk in the island barangay of Lapinigan, Claver, Surigao del Norte listened and read along with the child readers in front of the barangay hall.

In the afternoon, children, parents, teachers and municipal officials of Bacuag, Surigao del Norte watched a group reading of “Molmol” by grade five pupils of Bacuag Elementary School.

After each session, the audience was asked to comment and those called shared their knowledge and affirmed their commitment to help uplift the condition of marine life and support the setting up of fish sanctuaries in their respective areas.

One child said she will no longer throw garbage into the sea and another said she will share the booklet to her siblings and neighbors so all of them will help save the sea from the onslaught of pollution and siltation.

The interactive reading activity was part of the advocacy-campaign of “Dangpanan ni Molmol” produced by Conflict Sensitive and Resource Management (Coseram) in cooperation with seven municipalities of Surigao del Norte and Surigao del Sur, Hinatuan Passage Development alliance, Department of Education and Surigao City Science and Technology.

More schools in coastal barangays are in the lineup in the next two months.

For Virginia Pacunio-Guanzon, project in charge, the interactive reading and forum will improve the comics-booklet message through active engagements between and among children and the communities.

Boboy Tangco, a fisherman, said he used to resist and question the need to have a fish sanctuary but admitted he was wrong because he found how it has helped the fish population come back and brought them food and income. “I hope it’s not too late with other coastal barangays because some fishermen there don’t care.”

Dr. Martin Steniel, a German marine biologist and project consultant, warned that unless nothing is done today, the marine life in Hinatuan Passage will reach severe condition in 10 to 20 years. He said pollution and siltation must be controlled and regulated now as these have affected the fish population.

Requests from individual educators, development workers and community organizers to have copies of “Molmol” have poured and everyone is advised to ask Coseram. All copies are free. (Ramon Jorge Sarabosing/MindaNews)