Limay folk joins Petron, SMC in rebuilding mangrove forest
LIMAY, BATAAN—At the crack of dawn, about 150 villagers living near the coastline of Barangay Alangan in this town walked 800 meters to reach a muddy shoreline.
Moments later, under the scorching sun, the villagers planted neat rows of 2,000 mangrove propagules at a community-based forest management area here that is being maintained by the people’s organization, Kabarangay Alangan Tungo Sa Isang Gabay (Katig).
The villagers were soon joined by about 50 employees of Petron Corp. at the reforestation project initiated by the company 10 years ago.
Katig, composed of fishermen and their wives, is the local partner of Petron’s reforestation initiative.
Rose Santos, president of Katig, said the community was keenly aware that mangroves had protected their families from natural disasters.
“I saw how these patches of mangroves sheltered our community from strong winds and waves when typhoon Glenda struck the province in 2014. It served as a buffer between our village and the sea,” Santos told the Inquirer.
Managing the mangrove forest here has also proven to be economically viable for villagers, Santos added.
“Mangroves serve as habitat and nursery ground for fish and other marine species. We generate income and obtain food from our catch around the mangrove plantation,” Santos said.
Petron, San Miguel Corp. (SMC), Global Power and Katig carried out the mangrove planting activity in time for this year’s Earth Month celebration on April 28.
Vice Mayor Robert Roque, who joined the activity, said Petron’s mangrove planting project would benefit the next generation.
“Community members living near the coastline are aware of the benefits they get from planting mangroves. This will help us keep a healthy ecosystem,” he said.
Roque said Petron shouldered the responsibility of protecting the environment around its refinery.
“It’s good to see the community and these companies unite for a cause to preserve the ecosystem,” he said.
“I always find time for activities such as this. Even in small ways like planting mangroves, we’re able to show our concern for our environment,” said Daryl Campillos, 25, a volunteer from the Petron Limay Terminal.
Jake De Luna, Limay’s municipal environment and natural resources officer, led the planting of propagules.
“We are all guilty of destroying our seas by using plastic. Plastic is harmful to marine life. Let’s minimize our plastic consumption,” De Luna also told the volunteers.
Petron officials said caring for the environment and communities had been the company’s mission “while fueling the nation for 85 years.”
“It is our strong belief that by sustaining the environment for future generations, we will be able to sustain and grow our business as well,” the company said. INQ
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