GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/02 May)—The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) in Southwestern Mindanao is planning to plant one million mangroves in coastal areas this year to rejuvenate marine productivity, an official said on Wednesday.
Ambutong K. Pautong, BFAR acting regional director, said they are just awaiting the completion of a mangrove planting project implemented late last year before starting the current one.
“We have been required to plant one million mangroves this year as part of the National Greening Program to also rehabilitate the environment,” he told MindaNews.
The BFAR main office, according to him, identified 14 regions across the country to undertake the project.
Pautong said they have yet to implement the order since the mangrove planting of BFAR-12 in 2011 has not been completed by people’s organizations contracted to undertake the project.
For 2011, the target was to plant 300,000 mangroves but he noted that only about 100,000 saplings have been planted to far.
For this year, the allotted budget for the region is P5 million, or P5 per propagule, Pautong said.
Mangroves serve as breeding and spawning grounds for fishes and other aquatic resources, and also act as a defense barrier to strong winds, storm surges or tsunami.
Studies also showed that mangroves have many other traditional uses, for instance, the bark of Avicennia alba can serve as astringent and its resinous secretion for birth control.
The leaves of Excoecaria agallocha can be used to treat epilepsy, its sap for ulcers and toothaches.
Other mangrove varieties can be used to treat diarrhea and dysentery, to groom hair, as food ingredient, and as skin cosmetic.
In Region 12, Pautong identified Sultan Kudarat province to get the bulk of the one-million mangrove planting project, particularly the far-flung towns of Lebak, Kalamansig and Palimbang.
Areas that will be planted include abandoned fishponds at the shorelines, he said.
In Kalamansig, four people’s organizations have successfully cultivated mangroves two years after they planted them in an erstwhile 20-hectare barren and muddy shoreline.
“This is the result of the concerted efforts of our alliance,” Romeo Ebanada, president of Alliance Mangrove People’s organization, said late last year.
The alliance is a cluster of four peoples’ organization (PO) formed to manage the 42-hectare mangrove rehabilitation comprising the PO from barangays Lapyahan, Buenaflores, Bantogon and Labak.
Most of the species planted in the sandy and muddy loam include Bakauan (Rhizophora spp.), Bungalon (Avicennia marina), and Pagatpat (Sonneratia alba).
The project was implemented under the Natural Resources Management component of the Department of Agriculture – Mindanao Rural Development (DA-MRDP) in partnership with the local government unit of Kalamansig. (Bong Sarmiento/MindaNews)