Massive Environmental Recovery Program Launched to Safeguard Puerto Princesa’s Coastline



The city administration of Puerta Princesa, Palawan’s capital city, has launched a large-scale environmental recovery program to protect the threatened aquatic ecosystem along its extensive coastline.

The program, called “Save the Puerto Princesa Bays,” commenced with ceremonies in Mandaragat, a coastal village with a significant number of informal settlers.

Mayor Lucilo Bayron, addressing the attendees, attributed much of the ecosystem destruction to the approximately 5,500 coastal households.

He emphasized the urgent need to relocate these households, whose activities contribute to the problem. The situation is exacerbated by untreated wastewater discharged through 17 outfalls directly into the sea.

The mayor estimated that around 25,000 residents of Puerto Princesa Bay release household and livestock waste into the coastal waters, leading to contamination.

The pollution from human and animal waste results in reduced oxygen levels and disrupts the delicate ecological balance required for the thriving marine life in the bay.

Bayron stressed the importance of coastal residents refraining from polluting the bay, which is the primary objective of the “save the bays” initiative, while awaiting relocation.

To address the issue, the city government has acquired two land properties in Irawan and San Jose villages for the eventual relocation of the coastal dwellers.

These properties will be used to construct affordable and comfortable housing units with the assistance of the Pambansang Pabahay Program under the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development.

Barangay Irawan will accommodate apartment-type buildings for approximately 7,680 families, while the two-hectare property in Barangay San Jose will house about 2,496 families.

Once the coastal area is vacated, it will be reclaimed to prevent further squatting.

Mayor Bayron acknowledged that this process will take time and cannot be completed within a two- to three-year timeframe.

He also revealed that the coastal rejuvenation initiative will expand to include Honda and Ulugan bays, as well as Oyster, Binunsalian, and Turtle bays.

During the inauguration of the bay conservation efforts, Bayron, Vice Mayor Maria Nancy Socrates, Barangay Mandaragat captain Gerard Abad, members of the City Council, uniformed personnel, and volunteers participated in the ceremonial dispersal of mudballs.

These mudballs contained effective microorganisms (EM), including beneficial bacteria. When introduced into the water, these microorganisms help decompose pollutants, regulate ammonia concentrations, and promote a healthier ecological balance, ultimately improving water quality and mitigating the negative effects on the aquatic ecosystem.

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