FROM SEEDS TO ROOTS

GMEC continues its almost P7M-worth of mangrove adoption and protection initiative in Bataan

To carry on with its commitment to sustainable development and address climate change, GNPower Mariveles Energy Center Ltd. Co (GMEC) continued its Mangrove Adoption and Protection Project in Orani, Bataan with a mangrove planting activity held at Tubo-Tubo, Sitio Pulo last November 17. Around 70 volunteers, including twenty-eight GMEC employees together with seven PGENRO, and thirty-five Tubo-Tubo fisherfolks, planted 500 mangrove seedlings and 500 mangrove propagules in the company’s five-hectare adopted area in the barangay.

In June of this year, GMEC signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the Provincial Government of Bataan, Municipality of Orani, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), and TuboTubo Fisherfolks Association for the establishment of the Baka1Bataan mangrove adoption and protection initiative. The project, worth P6.8M, has a duration of five years with an option for an extension. It is part of GMEC’s flagship environmental program called P.R.O.G.R.E.S.S., under the “P” or Protect marine life arm.

P.R.O.G.R.E.S.S. stands for Protect marine life, Reforest Land, Optimize wealth from waste, Generate livelihood skills and income, Rehabilitate social infrastructure, Elevate educational opportunities, Safeguard quality health access, and Strengthen disaster resiliency.

GMEC believes that mangrove forests play a vital role in mitigating climate change through carbon sequestration. Mangroves absorb carbon three to five times more than mountain forests. They also help protect against oceanic natural disasters, such as floods, storm surges, and wave gushes. Sitio Pulo experienced its benefits first-hand during the onslaught of Typhoon Egay and Typhoon Falcon earlier this year.

“This initiative will help us improve the existing condition of mangrove areas in Orani, reduce the vulnerability of coastal barangays to coastal hazards, increase fish stocks in mangrove areas for increased fish catch, and increase carbon sink or carbon sequestration potential of the province,” said PGENRO representative Mistylyn Isidro Gutierrez.

“It was a new experience for me. This was the first time I planted mangroves, and it was not easy. But the thought of being part of the solution to lower our carbon emission makes it worthwhile,” GMEC environment supervisor Enrique Bulaong said.

GMEC fuels analyst Rodolfo Dela Cruz Jr. said “planting mangroves is not just about putting trees in the ground; it’s an investment in the future. Let our actions today be the seeds of a thriving ecosystem tomorrow.”

Barring the environmental initiatives, GMEC also plans to provide the locality with a potential alternative livelihood opportunity through fostering healthy breeding grounds for crustaceans like crabs, shrimps, and other seafood as well as create a sustainable flourishing fishing zone. In the future, they envision the area to be one of the premier tourist destinations in the region.

“This all started with a dream, a dream by GMEC, PGENRO, and the Tubo-Tubo fisherfolks led by Brgy. Captain Jose Sally Raymundo,” said GMEC AVP for ComRel Arcel Madrid. “We are excited to see the progress of this project, and we intend to accompany you all in the realization of our future plans in this area.”

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