Personnel of the Tactical Operations Wing West (TOWWest) carry sacks of trash and other marine debris on August 26 during the third save the bays cleanup project in Barangay Pagkakaisa, Puerto Princesa City.(Photo from TOWWest)

The village leaders in densely populated coastal areas of the city have reported improvements in the environment of the bay, following a series of cleanups conducted through the “Save the Puerto Princesa Bays” campaign.

The Mandaragat and Bagong Silang barangays both noted cleaner coastlines and a rising trend of residents taking charge of cleaning their own areas due to the campaign’s efforts.

Gerry Abad, the barangay captain of Mandaragat, reported that they have been conducting coastal cleanups every Saturday since the launch of episode one in their bay.

Abad estimated that they have collected a total of 30 tons of trash from their area since then.

He also mentioned that locals managed to clear away several months’ accumulation of trash within a few days, ever since they introduced a local program. This program offers residents school supplies in exchange for collecting bags of trash.

Reynaldo Taneo, the barangay captain of Bagong Silang, said they have been consistently organizing coastal cleanups in his area since the second staging of the city bay conservation project.

He observed that the coastline is presently undergoing a gradual cleaning process, yet further efforts are required to restore it.

“Sa ngayon kung mapasyal kayo sa Brgy. Bagong Silang, makikita na natin yung buhangin. Hindi nga lang kagaya nong una kong dating nung 1980s, na maputi yung buhangin. Pero alam natin pag natuloy-tuloy tayo sa napakahalaga at makabuluang programang kalikasan, ay makatulong at malilinis talaga ang aming dagat,” said Taneo.

Romy Remojo from Brgy. Pagkakaisa stated that they had previously undertaken coastline cleaning efforts even before the save the bay’s third implementation.

Furthermore, he expressed his intention to persist with the cleanups after the conclusion of the third episode as a way of showing appreciation to the city government for initiating the program.

“Aminado ako araw-araw kami naglilinis, pero madami pa ding basura, kasi yung basura nila kapitan Taneo ay naaanod sa amin,” joked Remojo, which the other barangay captains playfully rebuffed.

Abad emphasized that maintaining the cleanliness of the shores hinged on the collective effort of the coastal barangays. He added a touch of humor, jesting that Mandaragat was too distant to lay claim to more trash.

Taneo further highlighted that the presence of trash in the bays remained an ongoing challenge as long as there were residents along the coast.

He expressed his gratitude to the city mayor’s office for its proactive steps in relocating coastal residents.

During the final coordination meeting for this episode, the city mayor’s office reiterated their commitment to initiating the construction of affordable temporary housing for these coastal residents. They are actively seeking developers for over 60 buildings to facilitate this endeavor.

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