Pangilinan urges Filipinos to be heroes by preserving environment
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Francis Pangilinan on Monday called on Filipinos to become a different type of hero by preserving the environment.
“Today, National Heroes Day, let us all be heroes for the future and our children, and preserve our environment,” Pangilinan said in a statement.
“Bagama’t di natin kailangang magpunit ng cedula tulad ng mga bayani ng Pugad Lawin, pwede pa rin tayong maging bayani para sa kinabukasan at para sa ating mga anak kung aalagaan lang natin ang ating kalikasan,” he further said.
(While we don’t need to tear up any tax certificate like the heroes of Pugad Lawin, we can still be heroes for the future and our children if we cared for our environment.)
The senator issued the statement as he seeks the passage of his bill on national mangrove forest protection and preservation.
“Protektado ang mga bakawan sa lahat ng bahagi ng Pilipinas kung itong panukala ay batas na,” he said, referring to Senate Bill 239.
(All mangrove forests would be protected when this bill becomes law.)
“Ang mga bakawan ay isa sa mga pinaka-underrated sa ating likas-yaman. Pinagmumulan ito ng mga kahoy at isda at iba pang yamang-dagat. Nakakatulong din ito sa pagligtas sa atin tuwing may tsunami at storm surges,” he added.
(Mangroves are one of our most underrated natural resources. It provides forest products and sustains the fisheries industry. It also reduces the impact of tsunami waves, erosion, and storm surges.)
According to Pangilinan, S.B. No. 239 aims to establish Mangrove Reservation Areas, or portions of land in all coastal areas in each municipality allotted solely for the preservation, protection, afforestation, and sustainable management of mangrove forests.
The bill, he added, also seeks to penalize violators of the law, or those who cut, uproot, or destroy any mangrove tree; dump waste, construct, or reclaim in mangrove reservation areas; and illegally fish in the areas, among others.
“Bagamat ang daming nagagawa ng bakawan, sinisira ito, meron pang overharvesting, overfishing at polusyon,” the senator said.
(Despite its many benefits, mangrove forests face increasing deforestation from clearing, as well as overharvesting, overfishing, and pollution.)
“Dapat nating kilalanin ang kahalagahan ng mga bakawan. Dahil mga bakawan ang maaaring huling panangga natin sa hagupit ng kalikasan,” he added.
(We must recognize the importance of mangroves. Because mangroves may be our last shield against the wrath of nature.)
Pangilinan cited data from the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) which showed that over the last century, the Philippines has already lost half its mangroves, with mangrove forests worldwide destroyed three to five times faster than the average rate of deforestation.
According to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Centre for Biodiversity, 100,000 hectares of 500,000 hectares of Philippine mangrove remain, he added.
The proposed law also seeks to preserve and protect the country’s mangrove forests by setting the national policy and enforcing this policy through the establishment of national and local councils for mangrove forests preservation. /je
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