One hundred (100) sacks of rice were distributed to fishing communities in three (3) barangays of Glan, Sarangani Province on February 2 as part of the “Dap-ag Kapalit Bugas” program of Sarangani Bay Protected Seascape and in line with this year’s celebration of World Wetlands Day.
Fifty (50) families benefitted from the said program after collecting 49,362 crown-of-thorns (COTs) starfish on January 26-28, 2022 as verified and documented by the local government unit (LGU) of Glan.
“The Dap-ag Kapalit Bugas program is timely for the theme of the World Wetlands Day: Wetlands Action for People and Nature.
OIC-Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer (PENRO) of Sarangani Ma. Elvira V. Lumayag said that this is a one big leap on taking urgent and impactful actions beneficial for both human and nature.
“As part of the DENR, caring for our environment is also caring for people on the ground, and this shows it,” she said.
Alongside the distribution of rice is the continuous COT collection activity was made possible by the joint efforts of the LGU, Coastguard, DENR divers and community volunteers.
The said one day activity gathered a total of 1,737 COTs.
Forester Jesus Boja, PENRO Sarangani technical services division chief, explained that coral reefs are valuable wetlands.
“If it suffers damage or destruction, it cannot properly function and provide its ecosystem services such as protecting everyone from strong waves, acting as fish sanctuaries, and nursery grounds which will affect everyone, most especially the fisher folks,” he said.
Chief Boja added that the reef damage caused by outbreaks of coral predators such as COTs must be mitigated that is why the COT collection activity during this outbreak is much needed. | With report from PAMO-SBPS