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US, PH divers install artificial habitat reefs off Calatagan

Batangas: US and Philippine military service members, local government workers and nongovernment organizations partnered to install artificial habitat reefs at Barangay Hukay, Calatagan, Batangas on Aug.15, 2019.

The project, dubbed Operation Pamamalakaya, is a collaboration between by the Philippine Air Force (PAF), DV Boer Farm, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, Community Environment and Natural Resources Office, and the Calatagan local government and its residents. The United States military participated with six divers and five support crew.

Divers from the United States and the Philippine military pose beside the 30 jackstonetype artificial habitat reefs they installed in Barangay Hukay, Calatagan, Batangas. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

The launching event installed a total of 30 jackstone-type artificial habitat reefs made from simple construction materials. The reefs would serve as shelters, food sources and breeding areas for wildlife. Coral would eventually cover the sunken structure, revitalizing marine life and improving fishing livelihoods in the coastal communities of Batangas.

“Artificial reef-planting is a lifesaving human endeavor. A small contribution to the underwater ecosystem, but a great catalyst to the socioeconomic development of the coastal communities,” said Lt. Col. Engelberto Nioda Jr., commander of the 730th Combat Group, 710th Special Operations Wing of the PAF.

“This project was a fantastic opportunity for us to partner with our friends in the PAF and help preserve the Philippine environment for future generations,” said Maj. Zach Hart, a participating diver from the US.

The US, as a longstanding friend, partner and ally of the Philippines, continues to provide support to Filipino communities with marine conservation projects.

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