By: ELENA L. ABEN
Manila Bulletin, Saturday, June 26, 2010
Philippine Marines and Army troops have dropped
their weapons to engage in a battle against the
effects of climate change by planting mangroves
and doing coastal and river cleanup operations
in Navotas City and Camarines Sur.
A team from the Philippine Marines has been
deployed to conduct coastal cleanup and mangrove
planting activities in Sitio Pulo, Barangay Tanza,
Navotas City. The activity started last Monday to
pave the way for a major mangrove planting
activity to be led by Defense Secretary Norberto
Gonzales on June 28.
Lt. Col. Edgard Arevalo, Navy spokesman, said the
effort is in line with the Navy’s “Adopt a Bay”
program aimed at lessening the effects of flooding
in Metro Manila and nearby provinces. He said this
is also in conjunction with Gonzales’ directive for
the Navy to take an active role in coastal resource
management and climate change adaptation and
Arevalo further said the mangrove reforestation
project is one of the efforts of the Philippine
Navy in mitigating the effects of typhoons which
have increased in intensity brought about by
“Mangroves help mitigate the effect of typhoon
surge by preventing the rush of rising waves inland.
They also help prevent the siltation of bays,
erosion of coastal areas, and serve as a habitat
for small marine animals,” said the Navy spokesman.
Meanwhile, some 500 Army soldiers have stockpiled
their service firearms and flocked to the Biasagan
river in Camarines Sur to conduct massive cleanup
operations and prevent it from overflowing during
the rainy season.
Maj. Harold Cabunoc, 9th Infantry Division (9ID)
spokesman, said the river overflowed during heavy
rains last year, leaving hundreds of soldiers
stranded inside the camp.
“If we are stranded due to heavy flooding, we might
end up being unable to send our Disaster Response
teams to save the victims of natural disasters.
Likewise, the protection of this river is the
responsibility of the community and the soldiers
who are assigned here,” said Cabunoc.
Col. Arthur Ang, 9ID Chief of Staff, led the
soldiers during the cleanup drive.
Cabunoc also reported the completion of training
activities for the Disaster Response Operations
(DRO) platoon in preparation to the foreseen
natural disasters that hit the Bicol Region every
“Equipped with state-of-the-art equipment and
gadgetry, the DRO platoon will be deployed to
conduct search and rescue operations ‘anytime
and anywhere,” said Cabunoc.
Maj. Gen. Ruperto Pabustan, 9ID commander, has
directed subordinate units to activate their own
teams to be deployed for disaster response operations
in their respective area of responsibility.