Dumangas, AC Energy partner for Mangrove rehab project

As mangrove habitat loss is a major problem in Panay Island, the municipality of Dumangas has found an ally in AC Energy Philippines in rehabilitating its abandoned fishponds and restoring its mangrove forest.

Dumangas mayor Ronaldo Golez recently announced the partnership, which he said would further the town’s initiatives in environmental concerns and climate change adaptation.

“Our alliance with AC Energy for our mangrove rehabilitation program is off to a very good start, and we really appreciate their support in building up our natural sea defenses and eventually promoting our municipality as an eco-tourism destination,” he said.

The mayor said the program will include the rehabilitation of abandoned fishponds to promote the town’s fish sanctuary.

“We have denuded seagrasses at our fish sanctuary and we intend to rehabilitate and buttress the sanctuary with artificial reefs to serve as breeding ground for our fishes,” he said.

Golez said the town plans to develop a total of 90 hectares of property for the mangrove rehabilitation projects but that the LGU is targeting 20 to 30 hectares for its initial development, particularly on the islet of Lapus-Lapus.

“With assistance from AC Energy Philippines, we will be installing giant jackstones to serve as artificial reef and breeding ground for our fishes,” he said.

Golez said that since mangroves act as buffers, lining the coastal area of Dumangas with fully-grown mangroves will help shield the town from storm surges and tidal waves or other effects of extreme weather disturbances.

“We have to recognize that protecting our mangroves means protecting our coastline and our people from the wrath of the sea, especially during typhoons and other calamities. This is our primordial concern; the tourism aspect is just secondary,” the mayor noted.

A mature mangrove tree can grow as tall as 30 feet. Aside from filtering the water, studies show that mangroves also sequester 10 times more carbon from the atmosphere than any other plant.

Underscoring Mayor Golez’s position on the urgent need to rehabilitate its mangrove forest is the fact that a large part of the Dumangas population lives and works along the coastal areas, making a lack of seawall defense a potential threat to food security, livelihoods, and human lives./INews

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