SINIMULAN na ng San Miguel Corporation kahapon ang pagtatanim ng 25,000 mangroves sa coastal area ng Hagonoy Bulacan bilang bahagi ng layunin nitong makapagtanim ng 190,000 mangroves sa 76-ektarya sa lalawigan ng Bulacan at Gitnang Luzon.
Ang inisyatibong ito ay upang pagtuuunan ng pansin ang pagbaha sa lalawigan kung saan itatayo ang pinakabago at pinakamalaking airport na malapit lang sa Metro Manila.
“This project is a major component of our strategy to help solve flooding in Bulacan once and for all. Mangroves are essential to protect against flooding” wika ni SMC president Ramon S. Ang.
“This effort is part of our larger flood-mitigation strategy for Bulacan. The first is our P1-billion plan to dredge and clean-up the Tullahan-Tinajeros River system, which began earlier this year. This involves cleaning major river systems and tributaries that have been clogged up with garbage and sediment for so many decades, preventing flood waters from draining into the Manila Bay,” wika ni Ang.
“But apart from cleaning and clearing major waterways, the planting of mangroves in strategic areas is also important, because it acts as the first line of defense against inundation for those living along the shorelines, whenever there are storms or strong tides. They are also key to maintaining the marine eco-system and water quality, as they are a natural habitat for marine species,” dagdag niya.
Sa Hagonoy ay sinimulan na ang pagtatanim ng 25,000 mangroves sa 10 ektarya upang makatulong na proteksiyonan ang mga residente sa pagbaha dulot ng pag-ulan, tidal floods at maging ang tubig na galing sa Pampanga basin.
Pinangunahan ni Hagonoy Mayor Raulito Manlapaz, Sr., ang pagtatanim ng 8,000 mangroves sa unang tatlong ektarya. Ang susunod na pagtatanim ay gaganapin sa Nobyembre at inaasahan makokompleto ang 10 ektarya bago matapos ang taon.
Sinamahan si Manlapaz ng mga opisyal ng Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), mga national and local officials, kinatawan ng San Miguel Corporation at mga volunteers.
Ayon na rin sa DENR, ang Hagonoy ay isa sa mga priority areas para sa pagtatanim ng mangroves.
“Hagonoy is one of the lowest-lying towns in Bulacan that perennially experience floods. But this is just the first of many areas. We are working with the DENR, who is helping us identify critical areas. The goal is to cover 76 hectares of coastal area all over Central Luzon, and plant a total of 190,000 mangrove saplings,” wika ni Ang.
Bago pa man ang pagtatanim sa Bulacan at pagsasagawa ng Tullahan River rehabilitation at clean-up, sumangguni na ang SMC sa local at foreign experts tungkol sa pagbaha sa Bulacan. Ito ay bago pa simulang itayo ang Manila international Airport project sa Bulakan, Bulacan.
“It’s all part of the airport development master plan. We will not be investing over P700 billion if flooding and environmental concerns are not addressed. This airport will not only be modern, sustainable, and game-changing for the economy and the people, it will also bring a lot of good for Bulacan, its local industries, and neighboring provinces–one of which is it will help solve flooding,” wika niya.
“There is no one solution to flooding. It is a combination of solutions, and is a continuous process. That is why for the Tullahan River project, we decided to just buy all the heavy equipment — dredging machines, barges, dump trucks — and train our people to operate the machines themselves. Solving flooding will go beyond the five-year period that we committed to clean-up Tullahan. It will need maintenance. All our efforts are for the long-term and will come at no cost to government,” ani Ang.
Wika ni Ang: “Despite the coming of the COVID-19 pandemic, we said that we will continue all our major infrastructure and expansion projects. I’m proud to say that our commitment to the people of Bulacan to help solve their flooding problem, also continues.”