The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) V headed by Regional Executive Director (RED) Francisco E. Milla, Jr., CESO III culminated the 2022 Month of the Ocean (MOO) celebration together with various Local Government Units (LGUs) with an awarding ceremony of the winners of the 2nd MOO Quiz Bee and the Search for Best Mangrove Award in the Bicol Region dubbed, “Gawad Iba Ka Juan” on May 26, 2022 at the A and A Bed and Breakfast Inn, Imperial Court Subdivision, Legazpi City and a mangrove tree planting and coastal clean-up at Cawit, Manito, Albay on May 27, 2022.

The month-long celebration was spearheaded by the Conservation and Development Division (CDD) and  kickstarted with a Zumba fitness activity and Trivia Contest on May 2, 2022.

This year’s theme, “Protect and Restore the Ecosystems and Biodiversity”, is inspired by the message of United Nation’s Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development which is “The Science We Need for the Ocean We Want (2021 to 2030).”

Moreover, present in the Culmination Program were LGU Mercedes represented by Municipal Councilor Maria Velia Flor Ibasco, LGU Masbate City represented by City Councilor Alberto R. Abayon, LGU Gubat represented by Municipal Administrator Patrick Omar B. Erestain, LGU Siruma represented by Municipal Agriculture Officer Lorna Avellana, and LGU Cabusao represented by Mayor Weny Sabalbero.

RED Milla awarded the 2nd MOO Quiz Bee Champion Camille Alexandra Elizondo of the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO) Albay, 1st Placer Bianca Camille Abarrientos of the Planning and Management Division (PMD), and 2nd Placer Paul Edward Acosta of the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) V.

RED Milla also commended the DENR Bicol “Team Oragon” which won the recently held photo marathon contest organized by the DENR Biodiversity Management Bureau in partnership with Canon Philippines.

For the Gawad Iba Ka Juan awarding, the Pawa Mangrove Park in Masbate City bagged the Best Mangrove Award. The Pawa Mangrove Park will be the entry of the Bicol Region for the upcoming Para El Mar Awards, a biennial event which gives recognition to the best performing local Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in terms of practices and management. Also, the Mercedes Critical Habitat in Mercedes, Camarines Norte was awarded as 1st Runner-up and Panganiban Mangrove Area in Gubat, Sorsogon as 2nd Runner-up, respectively.

RED Milla in his message said, “Celebrating the Month of the Ocean has always been a good opportunity to provide the people especially our communities to have broader understanding of the importance of coastal and marine ecosystems.” He also said that over the years, the office and the public celebrated the MOO by doing coastal clean-ups, Communication, Education, and Public Awareness (CEPA) campaigns such as webinars, film showing, and Citizen Science.

The conservation and sustainable use of oceans can only be achieved if there is collaboration at all levels and across many sectors,” RED Milla said.

The DENR Bicol enjoins the public to take part on the environmental celebrations and promote the conservation and protection of the environment and natural resources.

The celebration of the MOO every month of May in the Philippines was mandated through Presidential Proclamation No. 57 issued in 1998.###