Bike caravan to push for watershed rehabBy Niña Calleja
Philippine Daily Inquirer
At least 300 cyclists will participate in a biking caravan from Quezon City to Marikina City on October 23 (Sunday) to campaign for the reforestation of the Marikina watershed.
The cycling caravan, a joint collaboration among nongovernment groups and the cities’ local governments, will kick off at 6:30 a.m. in Quezon City and end at the Marikina Riverbanks.
“Through this cycling caravan, we hope we are able to raise better awareness of the importance of the watershed in safeguarding communities,” Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement (PRRM) president Isagani Serrano said in an e-mailed statement.
The group has blamed flooding in Marikina on the rapid deforestation of the watershed with 80 percent of its 28,000-hectare land area already denuded.
A day after Marikina residents marked the second anniversary of the tragedy wrought on the city by Tropical Storm “Ondoy,” Typhoon “Pedring” forced many of them to evacuate as the waters of the Marikina River rose to dangerous levels due to heavy rains.
Serrano said at least 25 million trees need to be replanted for the watershed to become effective in preventing floods.
Dubbed as “Padyak para sa Marikina Watershed,” the cycling event will also be part of the PRRM’s yearlong pre-60th anniversary celebration.
As part of Resilience, a network of NGOs advocating for disaster-ready cities and communities, the PRRM has facilitated workshops for local government officials and their staff for the development of a master plan for the rehabilitation of the watershed.
Together with the Alliance of Seven LGUs or A7 composed of Antipolo, Cainta, Marikina, Pasig, Quezon, Rodriguez and San Mateo, the network promotes initiatives for climate risk management plans as well as funding.
In addition to raising awareness about the importance of disaster preparedness, the event organizers, which include the Firefly Brigade, also hope to promote the reliability of bicycles for mobility and survival as proven by recent natural disasters across the world.
In Japan, a strong earthquake and tsunamis resulted in damaged roads and a blackout, forcing commuters to rely on bicycles.
This was also the case in Haiti where medical and flood supplies were delivered on bicycles to quake-affected areas.
The cycling caravan is open to all bike enthusiasts. No registration fee will be charged. For more information, contact 3724992 or -94 or visit www.prrm.org.