BOAC, MARINDUQUE. More than 1,600 local volunteers gathered in various areas in Marinduque in support of the World Water Day 2019 celebrations.
Dubbed “Water for All: Now and Foriver”, simultaneous cleanups of Boac River and its riverbanks, including tree-planting activities, united local volunteers on Friday, March 22.
Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer (PENRO) Marinduque Imelda Diaz led the program together with DENR MIMAROPA Assistant Regional Director for Technical Services Vicente Tuddao, Jr. They were joined by Marinduque Governor Romulo Bacorro Jr., former Supreme Court Associate Justice Presbitero Velasco Jr., Boac Mayor Roberto Madla, Marinduque State College President Merian Mani, and key officials from many local agencies and civil service organizations.
The simultaneous cleanup of the longest and largest river in the province took place in 26 barangays: Hinapulan, Boi, Canat, Binunga, Ogbac, Mainit, Bantay, Balagasan, Puyog, Balimbing, Bamban, Boton, Sawi, Daig, Tumapon, Tagwak, Tampus, Daypay, Poblacion, Murallon, Tabi, Santol, Lupac, Tabigue, Bangbangalon, and Laylay.
Boac River disaster remembered
“Today we are cleaning what we can see in the river and in nearby communities,” said ARD Tuddao. “The bigger problems are the ones we don’t see.”
It was 23 years ago today when Boac River took center stage in one of the biggest mining disasters in the country.
It was 23 years ago today when Boac River took center stage in one of the biggest mining disasters in the country. (Image by Rafael Seño)
RELATED READ. Look Back: The 1996 Marcopper mining disaster
On March 24, 1996, the drainage tunnels of Marcopper Mining Corporation’s open pit ruptured and spilled millions of tons of mine waste that smothered the river, inundating villages and killing marine life.
ARD Tuddao announced the agency’s intentions to launch a river summit in Marinduque this year.
‘Plant more trees’
DENR Marinduque took the river cleanup activity up a notch by adding simultaneous tree planting activities in various areas surrounding Boac River.
Restoring riverbank trees and shrubs is an important step toward improved water cleanliness, more stable riverbanks, and better fish and wildlife habitat for rivers.
Tree planting activities also took place in several barangays: 50 tinikan bamboos were planted in Brgy Tabigue, more than 100 narra trees were planted in Brgys Binunga, Ogbac, Hinapulan, Canat, and Boi, while 30 mangrove trees were planted in Brgy Laylay.
In addition to being oxygen-producers, trees provide a range of other important benefits to rivers, people and animals. Trees improve water quality, as well as absorb and filter pollution from our soil and air.
PENRO Marinduque spearheads World Water Day 2019: Water for All, Now and Foriver". (L-R) DENR MIMAROPA Assistant Regional Director for Technical Services Vicente Tuddao, Jr., PENRO Marinduque Imelda Diaz, and AGREA Communications Director Rafael Seño
PH Law: ‘Every Filipino is required to plant one tree each year’
Section 8 of Republic Act No. 10176, otherwise known as the Arbor Day Act of 2012 states, “All able-bodied citizens of the Philippines, who are at least twelve (12) years of age, shall be required to plant one (1) tree every year.”
“Agriculture thrives only if the environment thrives,” said AGREA Communications Director Rafael Seño.
For 2 years now, AGREA and its volunteer arm AGREA 1000 Strong with support from DENR, has already planted more than 500 indigenous trees in Marinduque. Arbor Day 2019 Marinduque happens on June 22.
The launching of DENR’s ‘River for Life’ program in Marinduque coincides with World Water Day 2019, a global event that tackles the water crisis by addressing the reasons why so many people are being left behind. The AGREA Team
Feature Image by Erwin Monroyo Penafiel