Approximately 5,000 local residents, led by the mayor of Puerto Princesa, Lucilo R. Bayron, participated in the International Coastal Cleanup on Saturday.
The coastal cleanup was conducted in barangays Bagong Silang, Bancao-Bancao, Mandaragat, San Isidro, Sta. Lourdes, Tagburos, and Tiniguiban.
Plastic waste entering coastal waters, according to Bayron, endangers marine life and water quality.
He stressed that the five bays that surround the city, namely Puerto Princesa Bay, Binunsalian Bay, Honda Bay, Ulugan Bay, and Oyster Bay, are all protected areas that are vital not only to the environment but also to the local economy.
“Itong limang bay na ito ay nagdadala ng kaunlaran sa Lungsod ng Puerto Princesa kaya dapat huwag masalaula. Nagkakaroon tayo ng problema kaya it’s about time na magseryoso dahil yung mga ikinakalat na basura sa mga waterways, eventually mapupunta yan sa dagat,” Bayron said.
“Yung mga kalat sa coastal areas, lalo na yung mga plastic na hindi nabubulok ay makakaapekto sa marine life at sa quality ng tubig, at may dalang panganib dahil ang primary na kinakain natin ay mga produktong dagat,” he added.
The mayor stated that the activity will be beneficial to the environment, especially because there will be approximately 5,000 volunteer participants who can collect so much garbage.
The environmental initiative, he added, will help the city get ready for the upcoming Ironman 70.3 Challenge on November 13. At least 1,200 participants from various nations will attend the event.
“Itong activity na ito ay malaki ang maitutulong sa ating parating na big event – yung Ironman 70.3 Challenge kung saan, ang swimming leg ay gagawin dyan sa baywalk. Kaya sana magtulong tulong tayo na maglinis ng ating coastal area,” he said.
Meanwhile, as the Catholic church celebrates the Season of Creation, Bishop Socrates C. Mesiona, the Vicar Apostolic of Puerto Princesa (AVPP), issued a reminder to instill Christian principles through environmental protection.
In a pastoral letter, Bishop Mesiona stated that adhering to Christian principles will ensure the common good and universal destination of goods in Palawan. These reminders will bring Christians together in remembering the sacrifices made to establish the Christian faith in the local church, also known locally as pagdemdem (rembering).
According to him, the first thing that people should be reminded of is that public servants should prioritize the interests of the general public rather than specific individuals. They must keep their election promises to protect Palawan as the country’s Last Ecological Frontier.
“Maging mahinahon, mapanuri at manindigan sa usapin ng pagmimina at iba pang may kaugnayan sa ating kalikasan. Panigan ang pagamit ng renewable energy at isaalang-alang ang kapakanan ng mga kapatid nating mga katutubo,” Mesiona said.
Palaweños who have been given the power to participate in decision-making should make discernment and not be fooled by short-term benefits or promises that will not be beneficial for the public. Locals must stand for truth and the long-term welfare of the country, he stated.
He added that academic institutions should also enhance studies and teachings of the significance of the environment. The teachings of ‘Laudato Si’ must be shared and have programs and activities aligned in the planting and conservation of plants and trees.
“Sa bawat parokya, magsasagawa po tayo ng regular na clean-up drive at tree planting activities sampu ng mga religious organizations. Maglaan ng ilang saglit na panalangin para sa kalikasan (maaari sa Panalangin ng Bayan),” he said.
He also noted that the beauty of Palawan’s nature also helps locals in remembering Christ and it must be protected for the benefit of the next generations.
In support to the International Coastal Cleanup and the celebration of the Season of Creation, the AVPP prelate who also celebrated his 59th birthday, released some 25,000 Sea Bass fingerlings at the Tiniguiban Cove of Puerto Princesa Bay, together with priests from the Immaculate Conception Cathedral Parish (ICCP) and officials from the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR). (with reports from Rachel Ganancial and Gerald Ticke)
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