• General Santos City tourism council, city government intensify greening drive

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    GENERAL SANTOS CITY – The Gensan Tourism Council (GTC) and the city government have intensified the city beautification campaign through a greening drive launched on May 24 by planting mangroves in a coastal community in the city.

    The campaign, which is called #GoGreenGensan, is the first clean and green initiative made in partnership by GTC and the city government to ensure that the city will be climate change-adaptive through planting of trees, specifically on the highways and pocket areas of the city.

    #GoGreenGensan also aims to protect the coastline and marine life of the city as a way to prevent hazardous natural phenomena such as the massive coastal subsidence that took place in Purok Tinago, Barangay South.

    This campaign was officially launched in the shoreline of Purok, Minanga, Barangay Buayan —one of the city’s coastal communities — by planting 3,500 mangrove shoots there. Around half hectare of coastal land in Minanga was covered by the mangrove planting.

    The mangrove planting was participated in by around 1,500 people coming from different agencies and organizations such as the South Cotabato Filipino Chinese Chamber of Commerce Inc. (SCFCCCI) Fire Volunteers, numerous Notre Dame alumni batches, and media organizations such as ABS-CBN, Bombo Radyo, and Brigada News.

    According to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the mangrove planting is the biggest they have seen in the city.

    GTC head Jane Gollon-Rivera, wife of City Mayor Ronnel Rivera, was one of the most active participants of the greening activity—having more than 20 shoots planted on her own. She was accompanied by Vice Mayor Shirlyn Bañas-Nograles who also did her share in planting mangroves.

    Rivera said the mangrove planting is just the start of the intensified campaign to “green” the city to mitigate the effects of climate change and the on-going dry spell.

    “We will continue to do this every two months—in here and then other coastal communities in the city. We will also plant trees in our highways and to the city’s pocket locations so that we can give a little coolness to our city,” Rivera said.

    The mangrove planting will cover 37 hectares of coastal lands of the city. Gensan has nine shoreline barangays.

    “These mangroves, when they will grow, can also be a possible tourist attraction in the city. I have visited places where they put coastal roads or pathways along their mangrove areas so that people can enjoy seeing them,” Rivera said.

    Vice Mayor Bañas said that this environmental campaign is very timely especially that the effects of hot weather is already manifesting.

    “Gensan is one, or perhaps, the hottest place in the country right now. We have to do our part to alleviate the extreme heat and planting of trees is one of the best ways to do that,” Bañas stated.

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