Oceana lauds House of Representatives’ passage of bill on mangroves restoration and local coastal greenbelt zones establishment
Press Release Date: July 13, 2023
International non-government organization, Oceana is confident that the country will have a law that will strengthen mangroves protection measures and mandate the establishment of local coastal greenbelt zones before the end of this year.
The House of Representatives passed unanimously House Bill No. 7767, mandating integrated coastal management as a national strategy for the holistic and sustainable management of coastal and related ecosystems, establishing the national coastal greenbelt action plan, other supporting mechanisms for implementation and providing funds for these.
Passed on third reading on May 22, 2023, the bill got 269 affirmative votes, zero negative votes, and zero abstentions.
“If the Senate passes its counterpart bill within months after the opening of the 2nd regular session of the 19th Congress in July, our coastal communities will not only gain immense benefits from mangrove forest areas as shield and protection from the impact of storm surges and strong waves during extreme weather events, such as super typhoons. Their food and livelihood will also be secured because mangroves are the spawning ground of fish and the habitat of crabs, shrimps and other shellfish,” said Atty. Liza Osorio, Oceana’s Acting Vice President.
Known as the “National Coastal Greenbelt Act of 2022,” the proposed Senate Bill Nos. 1237, 1117, 591, and 113 are sponsored by Senators Cynthia Villar, Loren Legarda, Risa Hontiveros and Nancy Binay, respectively.
Chief Mangrove Scientific Advisor of the Zoological Society of London, Dr. Jurgenne Primavera said mangroves and beach forest areas contribute largely to coastal protection. Mangrove forests also serve as a major source of carbon capture to mitigate the impacts of climate change.
“We have seen the strongest typhoons and storm surges hitting coastal villages and leaving us with numerous deaths and losses in property. The solution is simple. Reducing or absorbing the wave energy from storm surges depends on physical factors – distance travelled by waves, water depth; and especially biological factors comprising the greenbelt of mangrove and beach trees – their size, shape, height, density, etc.,” Primavera explained.
Primavera cited a 2012 review paper by McIvor and colleagues which showed that a 100-meter-wide greenbelt can absorb or reduce 13-60% of energy from regular wind waves and swell waves. That reduction is translated to a 60% maximum reduction in damage to property and loss of lives. “We need a coastal greenbelt zone that is a combination of mangroves and beach forest areas to provide protection of communities from storms,” she added.
Apart from pushing for the national legislation, Oceana has been assisting local government units in declaring local coastal greenbelt zones to ensure that the existing mangrove forest areas are conserved and managed sustainably.
Negros Occidental Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson issued on October 19, 2022, Provincial Executive Order (EO) 22-50, declaring a network of coastal greenbelt zones and providing funds for said initiative. On the same day, he also signed EO 22-51, declaring a network of local conservation areas. This is the first of its kind in the country.
Other areas that have declared local coastal greenbelt areas are Municipality of Sta. Fe in Cebu Province, Bais City in Negros Occidental, Municipalities of Calbiga and Sta. Rita in the Province of Samar, and the Province of Southern Leyte.
Oceana is the largest international advocacy organization dedicated solely to ocean conservation. Oceana is rebuilding abundant and biodiverse oceans by winning science-based policies in countries that control one-quarter of the world’s wild fish catch. With more than 275 victories that stop overfishing, habitat destruction, oil and plastic pollution, and the killing of threatened species like turtles, whales, and sharks, Oceana’s campaigns are delivering results. A restored ocean means that 1 billion people can enjoy a healthy seafood meal, every day, forever. Together, we can save the oceans and help feed the world. Visit Oceana.org and ph.oceana.org to learn more.
For more information:
Joyce Sierra, Communications Manager, Oceana
Mobile: 09178214430 E-mail: email@example.com
 McIvor, A.L., Möller, I., Spencer, T. and Spalding. M. 2012. Reduction of wind and swell waves by mangroves. Natural Coastal Protection Series: Report 1. Cambridge Coastal Research Unit Working Paper 40. Published by The Nature Conservancy and Wetlands International. 27 pages.