Navy steps up protection of environment

The Philippine Navy is actively taking steps to protect the rich coastal and marine resources of the country, Flag Officer-in-Command Vice Admiral Ernesto de Leon said. 

"The Navy has been an active partner to the different environmental programs and projects of the government." the soldier cum environmentalist said.

De Leon said the Navy regards this noble undertaking as something that "we can be truly proud of for it is the reason that the Navy is enhancing its linkages with different sectors of society particularly the local government units, non-government agencies, people’s organizations, and the academe."

He is hopeful that through this program, different agencies will unite towards a common goal which is to provide a clean and peaceful environment for all. 

The Navy’s involvement into different environmental and ecological projects has gone a long way. The Command was able to reach places like Maricaban and the Pasig-Pateros area to conduct much-needed coastal clean-ups and river and creek declogging operations.

"We hope that with these operations, we will be able to reduce possible flooding incidents during the rainy season and ease the burden of residents living in these flood-prone areas", de Leon said

Far away from the urban jungle of mega Manila, the Philippine Navy’s "Adopt a Bay" project has been conducting mangrove reforestations in the key areas of Little Sta. Cruz in Zamboanga and the Ulugan Bay in Puerto Princesa, Palawan. This time, measures are being taken to prevent possible soil erosions during the rainy season and to preserve the habitat of the marine life present in the areas. 
Reforestation And Clean Air
Admiral de Leon said the Navy has initiated drives to clean the air through tree planting activities. The project is aimed at supporting the Clean and Green program of the government. The Navy has conducted tree planting activities in a number of areas in the archipelago: Abong-abong in Pasonanca; Lapu-lapu; Guimaras Island; San Miguel in Pangasinan, Brgy. Banquerohan in Legaspi City and in Campo Ranao in Marawi City.  Even areas of war-ravaged Sulu and Tawi-tawi have not escaped the Navy’s green thumb.  

The Navy’s Haven in Balicasag Island. Balicasag Island, located nine kilometers southwest of Panglao in Bohol has been considered as a naval reservation under the governance of the Philippine Navy. It has a total land area of  22.74 hectares, of  which 1.5 hectares is being used as a resort. 

Balicasag, an area in Bohol, is famous for its spectacular marine sanctuary consisting of almost eight hectares of the island reef. Because of this, Balicasag Island is declared as a Marine Protected Area by the Sanguniang Bayan ng Panglao.

Due to the spectacular marine ecosystem of the Island, a marine sanctuary consisting of eight hectares of the Balicasag island reef was established through a community project implemented by the Silliman University. It culminated in the passage of a local municipal ordinance by the Panglao Sanggunian Bayan declaring the island as a Marine Protected Area (MPA).

De Leon said the Navy is eyeing the development of the Balicasag Naval Reservation into an income-generating project for the modernization of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP). Upon recognizing Balicasag Island as a potential tourist destination, the Philippine Navy has initiated talks with the Department of Tourism (DOT) about the possible projects to be made in the island. The Command intends to develop the island through lease or joint ventures with investors interested in establishing commercial opportunities within the area. 

Balicasag Island is also considered as one of the strategic locations on which the PN would want to conduct its naval operations. The PN is even willing to allocate at least 1 hectare of the island for its modernization and upgrade of the present naval detachment into a full pledged naval station in the South.

In order to promote the tourism in the Philippine seas most especially during summer, the Philippine Navy stationed troops in the area to provide much needed security for the locals, tourists and existing commercial activities in the island. The PN also established the ties with the local inhabitants to easily protect the marine sanctuaries located in the in Balicasag Island.  At present, a lighthouse under the supervision of the Philippine Coast Guard is stationed in the area and manned by at least four personnel currently provides security in the island. 










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