A lawmaker on Tuesday welcome the directive of President Benigno Aquino 3rd, to put up more mangrove forests in coastal areas that would serve as natural barrier against deadly storm surges but such move should also be done in other coastal areas.
Senator Cynthia Villar, said the planting of mangrove trees will be part of a comprehensive program of environmental protection being prepared as a reaction to the devastation brought about by Super Typhoon Yolanda.
This is why she is also asking the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) not to concentrate on areas hardest hit by Yolanda alone but also in other coastal areas.
“We have seen how the storm surge flooded Roxas Boulevard and caused damage to hotels and other establishments in the area. This means urban areas like Metro Manila are as vulnerable as any coastal area in the country,” she said.
She insisted that the government action be definite because experts has already warned that storm surges will be more frequent because of climate change.
“The inclusion of no-build zones in coastal areas in this program is a step in the right direction. I also suggest that this program include a moratorium on reclamation because reclaiming of lands could lead to the destruction of natural marine barriers like mangroves,” Villar said,
The senator, also welcomed the signing of an executive order delegating to the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) the approval of any reclamation project an authority earlier given to the Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA).
A 2012 study conducted by the University of Cambridge disclosed that “mangroves slow the flow of water as the surge moves inland and reduce the waves riding on top of the surge, lowering water levels and reducing damage behind the mangroves.”
The senator also called on the government to implement the National Greening Program under Executive Order No. 26, which mandates the planting of 1.5 billion trees in 1.5 million hectares of land, including mangrove reforestation. Jefferson Antiporda