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Agriculture

Puerto Galera hosts underwater and coastal cleanup

The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - Puerto Galera is synonymous to an amazing diverse marine life, and for good reason. 

Named by the UNESCO as a “Man and Biosphere Reserve”, this rustic resort town in Oriental Mindoro is a sought-after hideaway for its fine sand beaches and lush underwater life.

In 2005, Puerto Galera Bay was admitted to the prestigious France-based Most Beautiful Bays in the World Club, a Unesco-recognized non-government organization.

Referred to as the “Center of the Center” of the world’s biodiversity, Puerto Galera is sanctuary to 152 coral species, over 180 species of nudibranches and 19 mangrove species, as well as nine out of the world’s 16 seagrass species.

So when Shore It Up, the country’s longest corporate-backed marine environment program decided to have its second leg in 2010, it chose this natural playground. 

Spearheaded by Metro Pacific Investment Foundation (MPIF) and volunteer divers from the MVP group of companies, the program focuses on the cleanup of the underwater ecosystem of the venues, putting into good use the participants’ proficiency in diving.

Launched in 2009 day after the destructive Typhoon Ondoy struck, the first cleanup was held in the famed dive spot in Anilao in Mabini, Batangas. 

Since then, the conglomerate has been taking reaching greater depth, quite literally, in helping rescue, restore and revive the country’s coastal and marine ecosystems. 

“This collaborative effort among MVP group of companies aims to address community issues, and provide livelihood and ecotourism ventures,” says MPIC vice president for communications Melody Del Rosario. 

Taking its CSR effort to heart, Del Rosario said that the conglomerate has pooled its resources to engage meaningfully in environmental protection, education, community development, and entrepreneurship. 

MPIF also partners with the local government authorities to create synergy and ensure sustainability of the environmental initiatives even after the group has left. 

A common feature is the Junior Environmental Scouts (JES) which taps elementary students from host villages in fostering environmental awareness among young minds through creative arts. 

Over the past five years, the program has grown to 13,000 volunteers and 43 partners, which include the barangays and local governments. 

On July 20-21, Shore It Up returns to La Laguna Beach Club and Dive Center in Puerto Galera to build on the gains they have made in recent years. 

“With this endeavor, we will bring a positive environmental impact, as well as economic and socio-cultural components for a sustainable tourism program in the area,” Del Rosario concluded. 

Shore It Up then moves to Hundred Islands and Subic Bay in August and September, respectively, and at Del Carmen town in Siargao Island, where MPIC will unveil its carbon-offsetting program. 

The undertaking is a recipient of the Anvil Award of Merit for sustained environmental program in 2011 and 2012. It was also given the Best CSR in the Corporate Governance Asia Award and the Silver Award of Excellence in the 5th Global CSR Award, both in 2012.

ANVIL AWARD OF MERIT

AUGUST AND SEPTEMBER

CENTER OF THE CENTER

CORPORATE GOVERNANCE ASIA AWARD AND THE SILVER AWARD OF EXCELLENCE

DEL CARMEN

DEL ROSARIO

HUNDRED ISLANDS AND SUBIC BAY

PUERTO GALERA

SHORE IT UP

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