By Erwin M. Mascariñas
Butuan City — The small town of Del Carmen in Siargao Island in Surigao del Norte has been awarded with the Best Mangrove Award in the Philippines by Marine Protected Areas (MPA) Support Network the during the recently concluded Para El Mar in Quezon City.
“It was the amazing sheer numbers – 4871 hectares, one of the largest contiguous blocks of mangrove forest in the country successfully managed through effective local governance and partnerships with academe, national agencies, nongovernment organizations, and local community groups, earned the Del Carmen, Siargao Island Mangrove Site the top spot in the recently concluded Best Mangrove Awards-Para El Mar,” said Dr Jurgenne H. Primavera, chief mangrove scientific advisor for Zoological Society of London and a Scientist Emerita of the Aquaculture Department of the Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center.
Primavera expressed how amazed she is with the mangrove conservation and protection in Del Carmen.
“Del Carmen has taken great strides towards the protection and conservation of its amazing mangrove area. In 2017, in all my three decades of attending symposia and delivering lectures on mangroves, this was the very first conference organized by a local government. Such creativity and thinking out of the box,” said Primavera.
In 2012, Del Carmen had 4,269 ha of mangrove cover, as of 2018 – it has reached a total mangrove area of 4,871 ha and growing, covering 27 kilometers in length and at least 500 meters in width.
Del Carmen Vice Mayor Alfredo M. Coro II, who started the town’s mangrove conservation in 2010, said the award is recognition of the town’s unified effort.
“The Best Mangrove Award is another recognition highlighting Del Carmenons’ story of change and love story with the Mangroves. Beyond protecting and preserving the mangroves to protect us from storm surges and improve marine life habitation for food, it’s our culture and history that has bound with the Del Carmen Mangrove Forest,” said Coro.