By SHERWIN DE VERA
VIGAN CITY — Progressive organizations, local government officials and state universities signed on August 10 a memorandum of agreement (MOA) to conduct research and the education campaign for the assessment of the state and for the protection of the Abra River at the University of the Northern Philippines (UNP) here.
Mayor Jesus Jeremy Bueno of Caoayan, Santa, Vigan City Vice Mayor Lourdes Baquiran with UNP President Dr. Gilbert Arce, Baguio, Santos Mero and Maricar Delfun of the Save the Abra River Movement (STARM), UNP Vice President for Research and Extension Dr. Jimmy R. Soria and Avelino Dacanay of Solidarity of Peasants Against Exploitation (Stop Exploition) participated in the MOA signing program.
The project “Mangrove Cover and Coral Reef Assessment, Initial Restoration and Environmental Education in Selected Threatened Shoreline Communities in Ilocos Sur” aims to identify existing mangrove, coral and associated species, socio-economic profiling of the communities, and to compile and analyze the information into a comprehensive and reliable database that can be utilized to make informed decisions in the utilization of community resources.
It will be composed of two components – the research component that covers the socio-economic and biodiversity profiling, and assessment of the coastal and river bank communities of Santa, Caoayan and Vigan City.
The education and information campaign is the second component which will focus on the current state and threats to the Abra River, and possible impacts and measures on climate change, and the extractive industry in the area. Support for the project was provided by the Foundation for Philippine Environment.
Profs. Erlinda Palaganas of the University of the Philippines Baguio City agreed to supervise the research teams for the socio-economic and biodiversity aspects respectively.
According to STARM the partnership is significant and timely to attain the reef to ridge strategy for environmental protection and rehabilitation as well as disaster risk reduction and food security mechanisms for the province, especially for the communities that rely on the Abra River for livelihood. # nordis.net