HAGONOY, Bulacan— As part of measures to address perennial flooding in Bulacan, particularly in this town, Mayor Raulito Manlapaz, Sr. thanked San Miguel Corporation (SMC) for planting an initial 190,000 mangrove seedlings on over 76 hectares in the province, at no cost to the government.
Manlapaz led the planting on Tuesday (July 28) of 8,000 mangrove seedlings on parts of 10 hectares of the coastal area in Bgy. Tibaguin. The area is meant to be planted with a total of 25,000 mangrove seedlings, to help protect locals from floods brought by the heavy downfall of rain, tidal floods, and waters coming from the Pampanga river basin.
The mayor also thanked the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) for identifying Hagonoy as one of the priority areas for mangrove-planting. He said the next planting activity is scheduled in November and the entire planting is expected to be completed within the year.
He said once these thousands of mangrove seedlings grow, they will help address flooding and the rise of sea levels caused by the ill-effects of climate change and global warming, particularly in this low-lying town that perennially experiences floods every high tide.
Manlapaz said the planting activity that started on Tuesday was the first phase of the project launched by SMC.
He also said the deepening of the Bulacan rivers as part of SMC’s dredging plans is needed to fully solve the flooding problem. He added that the Bulacan rivers should be dredged simultaneously, because if only one river is dredged, it will not be enough to provide a solution and the efforts and funds will be wasted.
SMC President Ramon S. Ang said the mangrove project is part of a wide-ranging flood mitigation plan that includes the cleaning and dredging of the Tullahan-Tinajeros River system.
The company consulted with local and foreign experts on the Bulacan flooding problem as it embarked on its construction of the Manila International Airport in Bulakan town.
For the Tullahan River project, Ang said they decided to buy all the heavy equipment — dredging machines, barges, dump trucks — themselves and train their people to operate the machines.
“Solving flooding will go beyond the five-year period that we committed to clean-up Tullahan. It will need maintenance. All our efforts are for the long-term and will come at no cost to the government,” Ang said.