Kiko pushes for protection of mangrove forests
Cecille Suerte Felipe (The Philippine Star) - September 5, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan is pushing for protection of all mangrove forests, which will help provide forest products and sustain the fisheries industry.

Pangilinan filed Senate Bill  239 seeking to establish Mangrove Reservation Areas, or portions of land in all coastal areas in each municipality allotted solely for the preservation, protection, afforestation and sustainable management of mangrove forests.

“Let us all be heroes for the future and our children, and preserve our environment,” Pangilinan said, seeking the enactment of his bill on national mangrove forest protection and preservation which he filed on National Heroes Day. 

“All mangrove forests would be protected when this bill becomes law,” he said.

Mangroves are an underrated natural resource and also reduce the impact of tsunami waves, erosion and storm surges, Pangilinan said.

He said the bill also seeks to penalize violators of the law, or those who cut, uproot or destroy any mangrove tree, dump waste, construct or reclaim in mangrove reservation areas, and illegally fish. 

“Despite its many benefits, mangrove forests face increasing deforestation from clearing, as well as overharvesting, overfishing, and pollution. We must recognize the importance of mangroves. Because mangroves may be our last shield against the might of nature,” Pangilinan said.

Over the last 100 years, the Philippines has already lost half its mangroves, data from the United Nations Environment Program show, with mangrove forests worldwide destroyed three to five times faster than the average rate of deforestation.

Only 100,000 of 500,000 hectares of Philippine mangrove remain, according to the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity.

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