Couples plant mangroves before saying ‘I do’

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BACOLOD CITY: Some 69 couples who are tying the knot today, Valentine’s Day, in a mass wedding at EB Magalona town in Negros Occidental, had a unique pre-nup activity last Friday. They joined the mayor and other local officials in planting mangroves along the coastal shores in Barangay Tuburan.

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Mayor Marvin Malacon said this is the first time that soon-to-be-wed couples were asked to participate in an activity like this and he wants this to continue.

The mayor said he has asked the Sanggunian Bayan to pass an ordinance to make mangrove planting a requirement for couples joining the annual mass wedding program.

“We are currently experiencing extreme weather disturbances and we want these couples to be part of our battle plan to mitigate the the effects of climate change,” Malacon added.

Among those who joined the mangrove planting were long-time partners Arnel Remias and Rose Marie Presquito.

They admitted it was hard walking through the muddy shore but they were glad to have done something for the environment before they finally got married.

“We and our children will benefit from this in the future,” Remias said.

Most of the residents in EB Magalona rely on fishing for their livelihood so the local government is very protective of its coastal area.

Local environment group Green Alert-Negros, one of the event organizers, said “the ‘Date with a Tree’ is a celebration to take part in giving our love to Mother Nature.”

“The event also aims to educate the participants and the community on the importance of mangroves in the coastal ecosystem and to get them involved in coastal conservation, preservation through mangrove growing to empower the community in protecting and conserving their mangrove area,” the group said in a statement.

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