TACLOBAN CITY- The on-going mangrove forests rehabilitation along Leyte Gulf will improve the natural barriers of the coastal communities in the area, the regional office of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources office 8 (DENR-8) in Eastern Visayas said. DENR-8 Regional Executive Director Leonardo Sibbaluca said that the massive mangrove rehabilitation project undertaken by his office will not only protect the coastal communities along Leyte Gulf areas from strong waves and storm surges during typhoons but will also help improve the environmental conditions, provide livelihood and food security to the communities. Sibbaluca added that the project is part of the overall mangrove rehabilitation for the region still reeling from the aftermath of the onslaught of supertyphoon Yolanda last November 8, 2013.

The mangrove rehabilitation project of the DENR costs P38 million and employs more scientific methods and techniques in mangrove and beach forest development. Of the targeted 9,800 hectares, stretching from the southern towns of Eastern Samar up to Abuyog town in Leyte, over 600 hectares have been planted since June of this year. Sibbaluca emphasized the need for the mangrove rehabilitation as mangroves have been proven to protect coastal communities during calamities and even saved lives during the onslaught of Yolanda, quoting reports and testimonies from residents of Hernani, Eastern Samar saying “If not for the mangroves, we would all have perished.” Sibbaluca expressed optimism that communities covered by the project will be more cooperative as many people now, especially in the coastal areas, understand and appreciate the role of mangrove in the protection of lives and properties during calamities after the devastating effects of super typhoon Yolanda. (RESTITUTO CAYUBIT)