The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Bicol headed by Regional Executive Director Francisco E. Milla, Jr., CESO III spearheaded a region-wide cleanup in celebration of the 2022 World Wetlands Day on February 1 and 2, 2022.

With the theme, “Wetlands Action for People and Nature”, the World Wetlands Day was celebrated through cleanup drives, mangrove and beach forest planting activities led by the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Offices (PENROs) and Community Environment and Natural Resources Offices (CENROs) in coordination with the provincial, municipal and barangay local government units in the region.

“Our department calls for greater commitment in protecting our wetlands, which serves as a critical source not only of biodiversity but also of sustainable livelihood for local communities”, Regional Executive Director Francisco E. Milla, Jr. said.

PENRO Masbate and CENRO San Jacinto led by OIC, PENR Officer Benito B. Salazar and OIC, CENR Officer Basil Cesar S. Camba, respectively, conducted mangrove and beach forest planting in Bongsanglay Natural Park. Mangrove trekking, and the release of Hawksbill Turtle. A ribbon cutting of the new four hundred twenty-three (423) meters Bongsanglay Natural Park Ecotrail was also conducted.

Likewise, CENRO Mobo led by CENR Officer Jean Imperial in partnership with the Municipal Tourism Office of the Local Government Unit (LGU) of Balud, MENR Office and Provincial Environmental Management Unit (PEMU) headed by Mr. Goldwyn Cesario R. De Leon, BLGU of Danao headed by Barangay Captain Abner Borres spearheaded a Communication, Education and Public Awareness (CEPA) campaign at Barangay Danao, Balud, Masbate.

Meanwhile, PENRO Albay led by OIC, PENR Officer Jerry R. Arena in coordination with the LGU of Malinao, local officials of Barangay Bariw and Bariw Mangrove Rehabilitation Association, Inc. (BAMARAI) Peoples Organization conducted a coastal cleanup in Barangay Bariw, Malinao, Albay. Approximately nine (9) sacks of solid wastes weighing about one hundred sixty (160) kilograms were collected along its coastline composing mainly of discarded footwears, food, plastic wrappers and empty bottles.

A tree-growing activity and Communication, Education and Public Awareness (CEPA) Campaign at Barangay Danao, Polangui, Albay was likewise conducted by CENRO Guinobatan led by OIC, CENR Officer Narisol C. Divina. Some fifty (50) endemic seedlings of Mabolo/Kamagong (Diospyros blancoi) were planted along the Danao Lake.

Moreover, PENRO Camarines Sur and CENRO Sipocot headed by OIC, PENR Officer Ronnel B. Astor and CENR Officer Eduardo C. Ampongan, respectively, together with the Municipal Government of Cabusao, Camarines Sur headed by Mayor Weny Sabalbero, local officials of Barangay Barcelonita and Biong, and other stakeholders spearheaded a CEPA campaign and cleanup drive at the Cabusao Wetlands Critical Habitat. A total of nine (9) sacks of trash with an estimated weight of twenty-five (25) kilograms were collected.

Similarly, CENRO Goa led by CENR Officer Daisy M. Terciano in partnership with the Barangay LGU headed by Captain Alfredo Saonoy, Jr., Sangguniang Kabataan representatives and some sixty (60) local community members took part in the CEPA campaign, tree growing and cleanup drive at the Gingaroy River. A total of three hundred (300) seedlings composed of Narra, Lipote, Guyabano and Cashew were planted along the river. Twelve (12) sacks of trash with an estimated weight of eight (8) kilograms were likewise collected composed mainly of plastic wrappers.

Further, CENRO Iriga headed by OIC, CENR Officer Nestor Franz A. Fortuno in cooperation with LGU Buhi, Camarines Sur, Municipal ENRO, NAPOCOR-Buhi Barit Watershed Area Team led by Mr. Eleno Lavadia, Peoples Energy Services, Inc., and the BLGU of San Ramon, Buhi also celebrated the WWD through a CEPA campaign and cleanup drive at Lakelet Manapao, which is known to be the habitat of Mistichthys luzonensis, the smallest edible fish in the world. Five (5) tons of water hyacinth were removed, clearing at least one thousand (1000) square meters of water space.

PENRO Camarines Norte headed by OIC, PENR Officer Marlon C. Francia in partnership with LGU Talisay, Camarines Norte Water District, Prime Water Camarines Norte and Rescue Bakawan Task Force of San Nicolas, Talisay spearheaded a CEPA campaign and cleanup drive at Barangay San Nicolas, Talisay, Camarines Norte. Also, an Information and Education Campaign (IEC) through a radio guesting was aired at DWCN 96.9 Radyo Pilipinas.

PENRO Sorsogon headed by OIC, PENR Officer Tito R. Migo in partnership with LGU Bulan headed by Mayor Romeo A. Gordola and MENR Office led by MENRO Kelly C. Tan also conducted a CEPA campaign and tree growing activity where some forty (40) pieces of Kamagong (Diospyros blancoi) were planted at the lakeside of Bariis Lake, Bulan, Sorsogon.

Bird watching and CEPA campaign at Barangay Alinawan, Panganiban, Catanduanes was conducted by PENRO Catanduanes under the leadership of OIC, PENR Officer Imelda D. Baltazar. Mix population of ducks, several species of heron and egret, shorebirds-waders including Brahminy kite and Kingfishers were observed during the activity.

World Wetlands Day is internationally and annually celebrated every 2nd day of February. It marks the anniversary of the signing of the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar Convention) in Ramsar, Iran, on February 2, 1971. (With report from PENROs and CENROs)