The government, through the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), will conduct a massive coastal rehabilitation program for the restoration of mangrove and natural beach forests in the Eastern Visayas region, particularly the province of Leyte and its capital Tacloban City, with a budget of P347 million. The undertaking will cover practically the entire eastern seaboard of Eastern Visayas, with the objective of restoring the region’s degraded coastal forests to make its coastlines less vulnerable to extreme weather events.
Mangrove areas and beach forests are natural barriers. It is clearly stated in Presidential Decree No. 1067, the Philippine Water Code, that people are not allowed to build houses in areas for mangroves and beach forests. Article 51 of the decree states that “banks of rivers and streams and the shores of the seas and lakes throughout their entire length and within a zone of three meters in urban areas, 20 meters in agricultural areas, and 40 meters in forest areas, along their margins are subject to the easement of public use in the interest of recreation, navigation, floatage, and fishing.”
Some 19 million seedlings and propagules from mangrove trees and beach forest species like Talisay will be planted in 1,900 hectares of coastline under the National Greening Program. About 80 percent of the allocation will be used for the government’s cash-for-work program for typhoon survivors, who will take part in seedling production, planting site preparation, actual planting, and maintenance of mangrove and beach forest areas.
According to the DENR, restoring the coastal forests in Eastern Visayas will set the foundation for the reconstruction and recovery of both coastal communities and urban areas in the province. The establishment of “coastal green belts” will be done in clusters to allow fisherfolk access to the shorelines, as well as other sustainable activities like ecotourism and coastal management. President Benigno S. Aquino III had earlier directed the DENR to devise a comprehensive environment protection program to minimize the impact of calamities following Yolanda.
The Manila Bulletin, led by its Chairman of the Board of Directors Dr. Emilio T. Yap, President and Publisher Atty. Hermogenes P. Pobre, Executive Vice President Dr. Emilio C. Yap III, Editor-in-Chief Dr. Cris J. Icban Jr., Business Editor Loreto D. Cabañes, Officers and Employees, congratulate the government of the Republic of the Philippines headed by H.E., President Benigno S. Aquino III and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources headed by Secretary Ramon J.P. Paje in their protection, conservation, and management of the environment and natural resources for the welfare of the present and future generations of our Republic of the Philippines. CONGRATULATIONS AND MABUHAY!