The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) on Saturday, July 17, spearheaded the planting of some 1,000 mangrove trees in Macabebe, Pampanga to mark this year's observance of the National Disaster Resilience Month.

Through the Strategic Communication and Initiatives Service (SCIS), the DENR led a total of 130 participants from Lions Clubs International District 301-D2, National Bicycle Organization, Easy Swim Philippine Life Savings, Inc., Manila Standard, and Barangay Consuelo, in the planting of two variants of Philippine Rhizophora—a genus of tropical mangrove trees.

The Philippine Rhizophora species used in the planting activity consisted of bakauan-lalaki (Rhizophora apiculata Blume) and bakauan-babae (Rhizophora mucronata Lamarck).

DENR Undersecretary for Solid Waste Management and Local Government Units Concerns Benny D. Antiporda, also the Supervising Undersecretary for SCIS, encouraged the participants "to avoid the word compliance" as he reminded them "to serve without expecting anything in return."

"The word ‘compliance’ is only for people who are expecting something in return after what they have done," Antiporda said.

He emphasized that Filipinos "need not wait for the government to solve the problem, but to act on the problem and save the next generation."

"If we don’t act on it, five years later might be too late for the next generation," he said.

According to Antiporda, planting mangrove trees in Macabebe town is "relevant to the observance of the National Disaster Resilience Month because mangrove trees help towns and provinces to be resilient from natural disasters."

Pampanga Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer Laudemir Salac said the mangrove planting site that was chosen is "the epicenter of the Manila Bay Rehabilitation Program in Region 3."

"With the daily cleanup activities that we conducted in this area, we were able to bring down the coliform level from 14,000 to 14 most probable number (MPN) per 100 milliliters," Salac said.

The standard coliform level for coastal waters to be classified as Class SB is 100 MPN/100 ml, which means it is suitable for swimming, skin diving, and other recreational activities.

The National Disaster Resilience Month is being observed every July of each year by virtue of Executive Order 29 signed in 2017 to emphasize the importance of disaster risk reduction management and the need to understand disaster risk, enhancing community disaster preparedness, strengthening risk governance, and investing in disaster risk reduction.

With the theme, "Tamang Pamamahala't Kahandaan, Kaalaman at Pagtutulungan sa Sakuna at Pandemya'y Kalasag ng Bayan," this year’s celebration aims to emphasize the important role of disaster risk governance and the collaboration of all Filipinos to overcome the challenges of this pandemic and to build a green and resilient normal. ###