Mayor Marcy ‘plants to nurture’ in Masungi Georeserve

Published August 11, 2022, 4:33 PM

by Khriscielle Yalao

“Perennial flooding in the city due to deforestation requires a long-term solution,” said Marikina City Mayor Marcelino “Marcy” Teodoro as he and other local government officials visited the Masungi Georeserve in Baras, Rizal on Wednesday, Aug. 10, to survey the condition of the Upper Marikina Watershed.

Photo courtesy of Masungi Georeserve FB

They were joined by the delegates of their sister city, Sakai, Japan, who were on their third-day of visiting Marikina.

The activity was an opportunity to commune with nature, as delegates marveled at the mountains enveloping the river city, and formed plans to help address deforestation in the watershed.

As the mayor hiked the georeserve’s trail, Teodoro noted the prominence of young trees, plant life, and grasslands in what he expected to be a densely forested area.

“Isa ito sa mga dahilan kung bakit binabaha ang ating lungsod. Wala na pala ang gubat, wala nang malalaking puno (This is one of the reasons our city gets flooded. There is no forest, no big trees),” he said.

Photo courtesy of Masungi Georeserve FB

At the tail end of his visit, Teodoro planted a tree as part of the reserve’s practice wherein all visitors to the area are encouraged to plant a tree on the hill.

“Mahalaga ‘yung tree planting, pero higit na mahalaga yung tree nurturing…Sana lahat tayo ay tutulong sa ganitong gawain (Tree planting is important, moreso is tree nurturing. I hope we all contribute our part in this endeavor),” said Teodoro.

Marikina is one of the cities located below the watershed. The local government cites deforestation as one of the reasons that floods are prominent in the city.

With no trees to counter the flow of rainwater, it moves quickly downstream. The rushing water often includes mud, sand, and loam soil.

The Masungi Georeserve said they are looking forward to collaborating with the local government in the protection of the area from quarrying, and raising awareness for environmental conservation.

Photo courtesy of Masungi Georeserve FB

Call to Action

Mayor Teodoro was among the Metro Manila mayors who signed in June 2022 the Masungi Georeserve’s “Joint Call to Action to Save Masungi and the Upper Marikina Watershed” to cancel quarrying agreements in the area.

It called for the protection and preservation of the Upper Marikina Watershed as it is considered a “natural defense against calamities.”

“We strongly urge the DENR (Department of Environment and Natural Resources) and the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) to hold collective over individual interests, support conservation initiatives, like the Masungi Geopark Project, and cancel mineral production spending agreements (MPSAs) covering more than 1,300 hectares of the protected watershed. The proliferation of illegal structures and establishments inside the watershed should also be taken very seriously, with those responsible held to account,” the statement read.

Other signatories included Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto, Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte, former Muntinlupa City Mayor Jaime Fresnedi, and former Vice Mayor of Angono, Rizal Gerardo Calderon.

As part of Marikina’s local initiatives, Teodoro strictly ensures to continue enriching and protecting the environment surrounding the Marikina River through regular tree planting programs.

Other activities of the local government include dredging activities for the river, as well as declogging and dredging of waterways within the city.

Flood interceptors were also installed below the ground in selected areas to streamline the flow of water.