125,000 mangroves planted in Siargao on World Wetlands Day

Del Carmen Mayor Alfredo Corro II, KAMAMANA president Danilo Lauras and Meralco chief sustainability officer and OMF president Jeffrey Tarayao join hands to protect the Del Carmen Mangrove Reserve in celebration of World Wetlands Day. | PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF MERALCO

One Meralco Foundation, the social development arm of the Manila Electric Company, celebrated this year’s World Wetlands Day by planting and nurturing 125,000 native mangroves in Del Carmen in Siargao Islands, Surigao del Norte.

This initiative under OMF’s environmental program One For Trees, in partnership with the local government of Del Carmen and people’s organization Kaanib ng mga Mangingisda at Magsasaka ng Numancia (KAMAMANA), aimed to highlight the importance of wetlands located in the western part of the teardrop-shaped island.

The Del Carmen Mangrove Forest Reserve, sprawling over 4,800 hectares, is one of the largest in the country. It serves as a diverse habitat for different mangrove species and various land and marine organisms that provide the area’s residents with food supply and sources of income. The forest also helps reduce organic pollution and can protect communities against intense winds and waves during typhoons.

The Del Carmen Mangrove Forest Reserve is an official nominee to the UN Ramsar Convention of Wetlands of International Importance, a step closer to putting one of Mindanao’s famous islands into the global map of wetland conservation.

As part of its ongoing environmental sustainability efforts, Del Carmen has initiated a reforestation project in three sites covering 50 hectares. This project, supported by OFT, will be a source of livelihood and income to KAMAMANA members and their families.

Since 2022, OMF has committed to reforesting mangrove sites and encouraging community participation to protect and preserve forests and mangrove sites that are also the source of livelihood in surrounding communities. OFT has planted and is nurturing 2,330,729 trees, of which 322,079 are mangroves.

“Reversing the losses in our environment takes more than just tree-planting activities; it takes conscientious efforts — from volunteers to local government partners to the community — to grow, nurture and protect these trees so that the community can also reap economic and social benefits from them and, over the long term, help mitigate the extreme effects of global warming and climate change. Ultimately, it is an investment for a more sustainable world for the future generation as well,” OMF president and Meralco chief sustainability officer Jeffrey O. Tarayao said.