Press Release
June 5, 2012

Legarda Lauds Coral Rehabilitation Efforts; Enjoins Public to Contribute

In celebration of World Environment Day, Senator Loren Legarda today brought to the fore the worsening state of the country's marine ecosystems as she lauded efforts by both public and civil society institutions to save life underwater through coral reef restoration.

Legarda noted statistics from the UP Marine Science Institute, which showed that only five percent of the country's coral reefs remain in good condition.

"Reefs are complex ecosystems vital to the continuity of life in the sea. They protect coastlines from wave and storm erosion and function as nurseries and habitats for thousands of marine species. They are ultimately connected to mangrove forests, seagrass beds, and countless other ecosystems," she explained.

"Thus, the destruction of our marine ecosystems will not only lead to the extinction of thousands of species but will also be detrimental to tourism, food supply, and sustenance and livelihood of our fisherfolk," Legarda said.

Despite the challenges, the Senator said that efforts being made by both public and civil society institutions are changing the fate of these underwater rainforests.

The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) has launched the "Filipinnovation on Coral Restoration", a program that aims to restore coral reefs by utilizing scientific expertise and Filipino ingenuity.

In partnership with several universities such as the University of San Carlos in Cebu, private resort and dive shop owners, local government units, and other stakeholders, the program has established coral laboratories to produce young corals that will be used to enhance and restore coral reefs.

Legarda added that a member of civil society has also been at the forefront of coral restoration. The non-governmental organization Sangkalikasan Producers Cooperative (SPC) has been active in restoring the vibrancy of marine life particularly in Boracay. The Code Blue Boracay Reef Buds Project aims to plant at least 5,000 artificial "reefbuds" on the waters of Boracay to rehabilitate the ecosystem underneath.

"We have provided our full support to this initiative of the Sangkalikasan and we have linked them up with the DOST. The DENR also expressed its support in expanding the Reef Buds project and is set to craft a coral reef database. I laud the DOST, DENR, the Sangkalikasan Producers Cooperative, and the academe for shouldering the daunting task of resuscitating our dying marine ecosystems," the Senator stressed.

"The World Environment Day is at present less of a celebration and more of a call to action. I enjoin every Filipino to take that one vital step forward. Another year of fighting for a sustainable future starts today," Legarda concluded.

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