File photo of mangrove planting in Quezon.

The municipality of Rizal together with Tanggol Kalikasan, Inc. (TK) a non-government organization, and Western Philippines University (WPU) have entered into a tripartite agreement for a mangrove forest assessment and rehabilitation program.

As part of the agreement, some 1,000 mangrove propagules will be planted in Barangay Campong Ulay.

WPU-Rizal project coordinator Dr. Elsa Carmen Montaño said Tuesday that the joint venture is part of the environmental projects funded by the TK in resource management and law enforcement project.

The mangrove planting activity is scheduled for July 24 following a seminar on how the properly plant propagules on July 23 at Sitio Pajo of Brgy. Campong Ulay.

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“Ang WPU ay isang institute for the strategic response ng ever increasing demand for capacity building ng LGU at nasa puso rin natin ang kalikasan na kailangan natin protektahan. Sila ang nag-identify ng needs ng LGU ng Rizal, tumulong lang tayo bilang mentor and coordinator. Ang Campong Ulay ay isa lang maliit na component ng mangrove na kailangan i-restore,” Montaño explained.

“Mahalaga ang ating mga bakawan kaya kung may alam na sila ay kailangan na lang natin sila i-re-orient or kailangan natin magbigay ng additional information. Ano ang kaniyang status, threats, and importance sa area at kailangan natin i-rehabilitate according them. Nakikita rin siguro nila na depleting na ‘yong bakawan na kailangan na i-restore, buhayin, protektahan at i-maintain,” she added.

Through the TK’s Institute of the Environmental Governance (IEG) some towns in the province are mentored and funded for the resource management and law enforcement programs with the help of Western Philippines University as a mentor headed by Dr. Benjamin J. Gonzales, vice president for research, development, and extension. Other team members are Dr. Jennifer Diamante, Abraham Cea, Lyca Sandrea Castro, and Cecilia Malolos. Municipalities that are part of the environmental programs include Culion, Cagayancillo, and Rizal where each town has a P96,000 budget allocation.

Montaño also said the organizers will ensure the compliance of the activity in social distancing following the health protocols in this time of the pandemic.

Aside from mangrove assessment with restoration activity, programs for riverbank stabilization, the establishment of multi-species mangrove and endemic trees nursery, and re-orientation seminars for poachers and concessionaires of non-timber forest products are also lined up in Rizal for the year 2021.

An initiative to help law enforcement in the environment through the regular monitoring of Malambunga watershed in Brgy. Punta Baja is also being undertaken.

“Bilang mentor ay ginagabayan natin sila na maisaktuparan lalo na ‘yong mga inilagay sa work and financial plan kasi gagawa tayo ng report. Magli-liquidate tayo ng pera ni TK kung saan na napunta. Lagi rin ako nagko-coordinate sa counterpart ko sa Rizal. Kung kailangan nila, nandito naman ang WPU team to assist them,” Montaño said.

She also said that the group is utilizing modern technology to find alternative ways with the impact of movement restrictions in the implementation of environmental projects.

“Hindi naman din tayo papatalo sa ating sitwasyon, hanggang August 15 naman ang time frame nito. Nandyan naman ang internet technology at nakagagawa tayo ng paraan. Timing lang kung kalian makabiyahe at kung may chance na makabisita kami, we do,” she said.

WPU will also conduct monitoring to see the growth development of the mangrove propagules and other covered areas of the program by September.

There is also a monthly webinar with TK to report the progress of programs rolled out in some towns of Palawan.

“Hindi lang ito nagtatapos ang activity na pagkatapos natin magtanim ay wala na lang. Ire-revisit natin ang area kung ilan ang nag-survive doon. Meron din project in-charge ang LGU para mag-feedback at balikan kung ilan ang kailangan i-replant para sa mga namatay na propagules,” she said.

“Ang sequel nito ay ang pag-put up ng nursery para continuous na siya. Manganganak hindi lang sa Campong Ulay, sa iba pa na area na kailangan dagdagan ang tanim ng bakaw,” she added.

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is one of the senior reporters of Palawan News. She covers agriculture, business, and different feature stories. Her interests are collecting empty bottles, aesthetic earrings, and anything that is color yellow.