The municipality of Culion on Tuesday, July 26, launched a project in Barangay Baldat, which aims to raise awareness and promote solutions for the conservation and sustainable management of its mangrove forests, in celebration of the International Day for the Conservation of the Mangrove Ecosystem.

The ”Gforest Mangrove Rehabilitation Project” is a collaboration between Culion Foundation, USAID Fish Right, and Gcash.

The partnership aims to plant 125,000 mangrove trees to restore and rehabilitate 50 hectares of mangrove forest covering eight barangays of the municipality by December 2024.

Cultural dance presentation during the launching activity of the “Gforest Mangrove Rehabilitation Project” in Brgy. Baldat, Culion, Palawan.

For her part, Culion Mayor Ma. Viginia de Vera issued Executive Order (EO) No. 38, Series of 2022, which adopts and institutionalizes the annual observance of the town of the International Day for the Conservation of the Mangrove Ecosystem as a means to raise awareness on the importance of the role being played by mangroves in their communities.

She also signed Executive Order No. 43, Series of 2022, which made planting mangroves a social responsibility requirement for the municipal government’s scholarship program.

The launching activity started with a fun walk-run, followed by a program and a meeting of stakeholders where Culion’s environmental plan for 10 years was presented.

The activity was capped with a planting activity of mangrove propagules in patches of mangrove areas in Brgy. Baldat.

Noli Llavan, who is in charge of a USAID Fish Right project for the Culion Foundation, said that the key to reaching the partnership’s goals is a mix of technical and local knowledge, community and LGU support, and leaders who are able to do their jobs.

“Sana hindi ito matatapos sa araw na ito, sa pamamahagi ng planting materials, but the community members should continuously support the project and take care of the environment. The LGU should also ensure that policies are properly enforced for us to reach our target,” he added.

Meanwhile, the team of Western Philippines University-Institute of Environmental Governance (WPU-IEG), one of the centers of Tanggol Kalikasan, Inc. (TK), a non-governmental organization focusing on environmental law enforcement and coastal resource management, also joined the activity.

The WPU-IEG team is in the municipality for a three-day mentoring and monitoring activity of TK-funded projects in Culion.

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