With its commitment to extend its sustainability initiatives to a broader community, Republic Cement recently launched its three-year mangrove rehabilitation and management project in Barangay Pamarawan, Malolos City, Bulacan.
The country’s leading cement and building materials manufacturer and construction solutions provider, in partnership with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Malolos City government, Bulacan provincial government, and Bulacan Lowland and Upland People’s Organization, aims to rehabilitate the coastal areas in Malolos by growing over 50,000 mangrove propagules.
Forty representatives from Republic’s Makati office and Bulacan cement plants and aggregates quarry joined volunteers from the barangay, Malolos officials, DENR representatives, and partners from World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Philippines, BantayDagat, and BLUPO in planting 5,000 propagules to kick off the project.
Saying their efforts are not meant for short-term results, lawyer Anda Bolinas, Republic Cement’s Sustainability director said: “This is not a one-time project for us. It is part of a long-standing program that we created. We’ll monitor and evaluate the site every quarter until the mangroves reach maturity.”
Bolinas explained the activity is part of the company’s iSTAND4 program, which defines its commitments to the environment and its communities.
The company said BantayDagat-Malolos, a local volunteer organization that conducts 24-hour coastal watches, will be one of the project’s proponents, to ensure the mangroves are maintained and protected until they mature into forests that enrich the community’s ecosystem.
“Our idea for building a great wall of mangroves is coming to fruition sooner than expected,” said Gilbert Gatchalian, vice mayor of Malolos. “This is definitely something that will not only benefit us today, but also the next generations, our children and grandchildren. We are thankful to our corporate partner, Republic Cement, along with DENR, and all the rest who are advocating a good future for all of us.”
Apart from providing a shield against tidal surges during storms, mangroves have been noted for their ability to effectively store carbon dioxide and provide new means for ecosystems to thrive, the company said.
Mangroves also act as protective breeding grounds and nurseries for marine life that greatly benefit the coastal communities, whose means of livelihood are fishing and aquaculture management.
To complement this environmental restoration and conservation initiative, Republic also partnered with WWF Philippines and various government agencies and local government units to develop a sustainability and management plan for the Morong Watershed, to ensure its continued protection and conservation. This project is now on its second phase.
Paolo Pagaduan of WWF, a longtime partner of the company, said: “We’ve been partners with Republic for over a decade so this [Morong second phase] is just a continuation of our partnership with them to help those living around their plant sites. It’s not just in the interest of the company but of the surrounding communities as well.”
The mangrove planting in Bulacan is the third such activity of Republic Cement, coming from last year’s partnership with DENR for the rehabilitation of mangrove forests in the coastal areas of the Visayas and Mindanao where it has operations.
A total of 20,000 red mangrove propagules were planted by its Danao and Iligan plant teams to restore the forests devastated by typhoons Sendong and Yolanda.