THE community members of Barangay Dinahican, in Infanta, Quezon and a fisherfolk people’s organization, the Maralitang Mangingisda ng Munting Sa¬bang Association (MMMSA) have long recognized the importance of mangroves, being reliant on this ecosystem to sustain their source of food and livelihood. This motivated them to engage in mangrove planting for projects under the Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (DA-BFAR) and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
More recently, the Municipality of Infanta pushed to further involve its local people in mangrove forest protection and restoration. Together with the Barangay officials of Dinahican, DENR-Cenro Real, Haribon Foundation and BirdLife International-Tokyo through the funding of RICOH Company Ltd., an orientation on Philippine laws pertaining to mangroves and status of the area’s solid waste was conducted last October 15 to 16, 2015. The importance of mangrove conservation was further inculcated in the community by discussing the forest’s importance and benefits in light of climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction and management (DRRM).
With the ongoing mangrove reforestation and monitoring activities in the area, it is hoped that the community will remain motivated in environmental conservation and spread awareness to everyone. “It would be great to orient others especially the younger generation on forest protection and solid waste that gets tangled in the roots of mangrove trees” (“Maganda sana na ibahagi ito sa iba lalo-lalo na sa mga mas bata pa kasama ang problema ng basura natatamabak sa mga ugat ng bakawan”), one female MMMSA participant shared.
Eager to widen reforestation efforts, the participants wanted to push key government agencies to act on the municipality’s motion for the reversion of abandoned, underdeveloped and underutilized fishponds into mangrove areas. By just having this, the barangay would be able to bring-back the green belts that line their coastlines, which protect the community from strong wave surges and provide them with a healthy natural ecosystem with abundant food sources. There were initial discussions at the end of the training of having a resolution to establish the mangrove forests of Dinahican as a Marine Protected Area (MPA) to ensure its protection and conservation through an enactment of a local legislation. Such initiative is a challenge yet it will be a great milestone in mangrove management in the municipality.
This training orientation is part of the on-going project of the Haribon Foundation-Restoration of the Mangrove Forest in Infanta, Quezon, a project supported by Birdlife International Tokyo and Ricoh Company, Ltd., which aims to develop capacity of the local stake¬holders to restore, manage and protect their mangrove forest.
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