Newly-planted bakawan trees at the mangrove site in Pag-asa. - Photo courstesy of NOE CHRISTIAN S NOLASCO
By ALFREDO P HERNANDEZ
NEWLY-reelected mayor Ricarte Padilla has launched an ambitious program to plant one million trees in about two thousand hectares in Mambulao within three years.
The initiative debuted recently at Baranggay Pag-asa, home to a vast mangrove area that has been denuded by commercial charcoal makers and firewood gatherers.
It was followed by a weekend sortie in Salvacion where 8,000 young bakawan trees were transplanted into the area’s denuded mangrove.
The first tree-planting gig was fully supported by the local council members and schoolchildren who planted young bakawan trees.
Pag-asa intends to plant more than 50,000 bakawan trees, which will be carried out twice a month, and has set up a bakawan seedling nursery to source the planting materials.
The program is being spearheaded by the Sangguniang Bayan Committees on Environmental Management and Forestry.
Under the program, the Mambulao government will tap the private sector, various non-governmental organizations, baranggay communities, schools, the tribal community of the Kabihug and relevant government agencies.
Invited to join were private firms Johson Gold Mining Corp, processor Elnar Gold Processing, Camarines Norte Electric Cooperative (Canoreco) Jose Panganiban Water District and Pan Century Surfactant.
Among those targeted for replanting and reforestation efforts are watershed that included the areas around the Paltic Dam which supplies water to the community, denuded mangrove areas in coastal baranggays such as Santa Elena, Sta Milagrosa, Larap, Osmena and Luklukan Sur and Norte.
In fact last Sunday, about 500 volunteers trooped to Paltic Dam watershed and transplanted about 3,000 forest and indigenous trees.
Over the past two weeks close to 14,000 young trees were planted in three areas – Pag-asa, Salvacion and Paltic Dam watershed area.
Aside from mangrove trees, the program will also plant hardwood trees and fruit-bearing trees that included kakaw, sampalok, mango, santol, malingang among others.
The planting materials are being grown in a municipal nursery, which also sells young fruit trees to interested groups and individuals.
Padilla intends to push the one-million-trees target before his second term ends in 2016.
He declared: "We have more or less 44,000ha of territorial waters at Jose Panganiban, and ideally 30% of that area should be covered by mangroves so that reproduction process of our marine resources are not hindered … wala pa po sa 10% ang mangrove areas natin kaya ito po ang isa sa mga dahilan kung bakit mahina na ang huli ng ating mga mangingisda ... this may be ambitious dream, but I know we can do it! Together we can bring back a greener and cleaner Mambulao...."
The municipal seedling nursery that will supply planting materials from hardwood species to fruit-bearing trees. – Photo courtesy of ARTEM ANDAYA/Member,SB-Mambulao
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