Cement and building materials manufacturer Republic Cement has launched a three-year program to restore the mangrove forest in the coastal areas of Malolos, Bulacan, the company announced.
“In line with its commitment to extend its sustainability initiatives to a broader community, Republic Cement, the country’s leading cement and building materials manufacturer and construction solutions provider, recently launched its Mangrove Rehabilitation and Management Project in Barangay Pamarawan, Malolos City, Bulacan,” the company said in a statement.
The project is a partnership among Republic Cement, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Malolos city government, Bulacan provincial government, and Bulacan Lowland and Upland People’s Organization (BLUPO), and aims to rehabilitate the coastal areas in Malolos, Bulacan by growing more than 50,000 mangrove propagules.
A team of 40 representatives from the company’s Makati office and Bulacan cement plants and aggregates quarry joined volunteers from the barangay, Malolos government officials, DENR representatives as well as partners from World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Philippines, BantayDagat, and BLUPO in planting an initial 5,000 propagules to kick off the project.
“This is not a one-time project for us. It is part of a long-standing program that we created. We’ll monitor and evaluate the site every quarter until the mangroves reach maturity,” Republic Cement’s Sustainability Director Anda Bolinas said.
Bolinas explained that the activity is part of the company’s iSTAND4 program, which is part of its corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives for environment and communities where its operations are located.
BantayDagat-Malolos is a local volunteer organization that conducts 24-hour coastal watches, and will ensure that the mangrove propagules are maintained and protected until they mature into forests, the company added.
“Our idea for building a great wall of mangroves is coming to fruition sooner than expected,” said Gilbert Gatchalian, Vice Mayor of Malolos. “This is definitely something that will not only benefit us today, but also the next generations, our children and grandchildren. We are thankful to our corporate partner, Republic Cement, along with DENR, and all the rest who are advocating a good future for all of us.”
Mangroves provide a shield against tidal surges during storms, and have been noted for their ability to effectively store carbon dioxide. Mangroves also act as protective breeding grounds and nurseries for marine life, a benefit to coastal communities whose means of livelihood are fishing and aquaculture management.
In addition to the Malolos project, Republic has also partnered with WWF Philippines and various government agencies and local government units to develop a sustainability and management plan for the Morong Watershed to ensure its continued protection and conservation.
Paolo Pagaduan of WWF said, “We’ve been partners with Republic for over a decade so this (second phase of Morong Watershed project) is just a continuation of our partnership with them to help those living around their plant sites. It’s not just in the interest of the company but of the surrounding communities as well.”
Republic Cement said its mangrove planting in Bulacan is the third such activity for the company, after two projects in Mindanao and the Visayas were carried out by personnel from Republic’s cement plants in Danao and Iligan to restore mangroves destroyed in typhoons Sendong and Yolanda.