MANGROVE PLANTING. San Miguel Corporation (SMC) has started its initiative to plant a total of 190,000 mangrove seedlings over 76 hectares in Bulacan province and other areas in Central Luzon to help address perennial flooding. The first phase of the project was launched Tuesday (July 28, 2020) in Hagonoy, Bulacan, where 25,000 mangrove seedlings were to be planted in 10 hectares within the year. (Photo courtesy of SMC)


MANILA – San Miguel Corporation (SMC) has started planting 25,000 mangroves on 10 hectares of coastal area in Hagonoy, Bulacan --the first in the target 190,000 mangroves to be planted over 76 hectares in Bulacan and Central Luzon.
The initiative is part of a massive, wide-ranging plan to address perennial flooding in the province, ahead of construction of the country’s newest and largest international gateway just north of 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,” SMC president Ramon Ang said in a statement Wednesday.
Ang said the effort is part of the company’s larger flood-mitigation strategy for Bulacan, the first is the PHP1-billion plan to dredge and clean-up the Tullahan-Tinajeros River system which began earlier this year. 
“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,” he added.
In Hagonoy, Ang said the plan is to plant 10 hectares of coastal area in Bgy. Tibaguin with 25,000 mangrove seedlings to help protect locals from floods brought by the rainy season, tidal floods, and waters coming from the Pampanga basin.
Hagonoy Mayor Raulito Manlapaz Sr. led the planting of an initial 8,000 mangrove seedlings over an area of three hectares. 
The next planting activity is scheduled for November, and all 10 hectares are expected to be completed within the year.
Manlapaz was joined by regional officials of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), other national and local officials, representatives from San Miguel Corporation, and volunteers.
It was the DENR that identified Hagonoy as one of the priority areas for mangrove-planting. 
“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,” Ang said. (PR)