Press Release
August 1, 2014

International Mangrove Action Day
Villar cites role of mangroves to reduce typhoon damage

In celebration of the International Mangrove Action Day, Sen. Cynthia Villar today led the mangrove tree planting activity at the Las Piñas-Parañaque Critical Habitat and Eco-Tourism Area (LPPCHEA) even as she reiterated the use of mangroves to reduce the impact of storm surges in coastal areas.

"We are facing now stronger and more frequent typhoons. More than ever, we should protect our remaining mangrove forests and encourage more people to plant mangrove trees. These trees serve as buffer against tidal surges during storms," Villar said.

Villar cited the 2012 study conducted by the University of Cambridge, which showed that mangroves slow down the flow of water during surges and reduce the damage in coastal areas.

The Nacionalista Party senator also recalled how the Palompon town in Leyte was spared by the storm surge caused by Typhoon Yolanda because the mangroves served as barriers that weaken the tides.

"PAG-ASA said about four typhoons will visit the country in August alone. We should prepare and reinforce our protection against storm surges," Villar said.

More than 300 persons joined Villar in the tree-planting and clean up activity coming from the Governance Commission for Government-Owned and Controlled Corporations, Bureau of Fire Protection, Alliance for Stewardship for Authentic Progress, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, Red Cross Las Piñas, University of Sto. Tomas faculty and residents of Las Piñas and Parañaque.

Mangrove Action Day, which was celebrated last July 26, is an international day of solidarity and action to save the mangroves. According to the Mangrove Action Project website, the loss of mangrove forests should be reversed and the rights of coastal communities to sustainably manage and conserve their coastal wetlands should be protected.

Villar, in recognition of the importance of mangroves, has authored two bills in the Senate, namely, Senate Bill 142, or the National Mangrove Forest Protection and Preservation Act and Senate Bill 143 or the act establishing the coastal environment program.

The Coastal Environment Program seeks to establish reservation areas in all coastal municipalities in the country solely for the preservation, protection, reforestation, afforestation and sustainable development of mangrove forests.

LPPCHEA, a 175-hectare protected area by virtue of Presidential Proclamation No. 1412 and one of the world's most important wetlands as listed by the Ramsar Convention, is also Metro Manila's last remaining mangrove area.

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