SMC begins massive mangrove planting

TO HELP STOP FLOODING

SAN Miguel Corporation (SMC) has started planting 25,000 mangroves on 10 hectares of coastal area in Hagonoy, Bulacan—the first of a total 190,000 mangroves to be planted over 76-hectares in Bulacan and Central Luzon.

The initiative is part of a massive, wide-ranging plan to address perennial flooding in the province, ahead of construction of the country’s newest and largest international gateway just north of Metro Manila.

“This project is a major component of our strategy to help solve flooding in Bulacan once and for all. Mangroves are essential to protect against flooding” said SMC president Ramon S. Ang.

He said the first effort in SMC’s flood-mitigation strategy for Bulacan was the P1-billion plan to dredge and clean-up the Tullahan-Tinajeros River system that involved cleaning major river systems and tributaries that have been clogged up with garbage and sediment for so many decades, preventing flood waters from draining into the Manila Bay.

Ang pointed out that the planting of mangroves in strategic areas acts as not only as the first line of defense against inundation for those living along the shoreline, whenever there are storms or strong tides, but also key to maintaining the marine eco-system and water quality, as they are a natural habitat for marine species.

In Hagonoy, Ang said the plan is to plant 10 hectares of coastal area in Bgy. Tibaguin with 25,000 mangrove seedlings, in order to help protect locals from floods brought on by the rainy season, tidal floods, and waters coming from the Pampanga basin.

Hagonoy Mayor Raulito Manlapaz, Sr. led the planting of an initial 8,000 mangrove seedlings over an area of three hectares. The next planting activity is scheduled for November, and all 10 hectares are expected to be completed within the year.

DENR had identified Hagonoy as one of the priority areas for mangrove-planting.

Prior to the mangrove planting and start of the Tullahan River rehabilitation and cleanup, also a key component of government’s major effort to clean up the Manila Bay, SMC had consulted both local and foreign experts on how to address Bulacan’s flooding problem even before it begins actual work on the new Manila international Airport project, to be built in Bulakan, Bulacan.

“We will not be investing over P700 billion if flooding and environmental concerns are not addressed. This airport will not only be modern, sustainable, and game-changing for the economy and the people, it will also bring a lot of good for Bulacan, its local industries, and neighboring provinces–one of which is it will help solve flooding,” Ang said. #

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