Press Release
March 25, 2015

Villar cites government move to restore mangroves

Sen. Cynthia Villar today welcomed the action of the government to restore mangroves and beach forests in areas devastated by typhoons.

Villar said the release of P400 million for the Mangrove and Beach Forest Development Project of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), indicates the government's recognition of the importance of mangroves as buffer against tidal surges.

"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," 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 and weakened the tides.

The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) recently announced the release of P400 million to revive the mangroves and beach forests in areas devastated by Typhoon Yolanda and other disasters. The amount is a partial release of the total P1 billion budget for this project.

According to reports, the project will cover 22,000 hectares of mangrove forests and 5,400 hectares of beach forests. It will include site preparation, nursery development, mangrove and beach forest planting, and maintenance and protection.

Villar said DENR should also prioritize the protection of all mangrove forests, including the mangroves in the Ramsar-listed Las Pinas-Paranaque Critical Habitat and Eco-Tourism Area (LPPCHEA) as one of the world's most important wetlands.

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 is a 175-hectare protected area by virtue of Presidential Proclamation No. 1412. It is also Metro Manila's last remaining mangrove area.

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