GENERAL SANTOS CITY – The city government has designated a mangrove forest in one of its coastal villages as a special protection area to properly secure the environment and ensure its preservation.
Allan Marcilla, head of the City Environment and Natural Resources Office, said Wednesday the move was aimed to protect the environs and resources within the mangrove forest in Barangay Tambler from encroachment and poaching.
He said they installed delineation buoys and signages last week to properly inform and warn the public from going into the area.
The initiative was supported by the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, and other stakeholders.
The city government earlier closed down the site, popularly known to locals as Safi beach or mangroves, after it became a frequent destination for beachgoers from the city and even the neighboring localities.
Aside from beachgoers, it was declared off-limits to fishing activities and with the maritime police now patrolling the site, which is part of the Sarangani Bay Protected Seascape.
Video footage circulating online since last year showed the area, which was dubbed “secret beach” due to its secluded location with white sands emerging in some portions during low tide, teeming with people, and doing various activities.
Marcilla said it could potentially harm the mangroves, corals, and seagrass beds thriving at the site.
“If we allow people to go there, there’s a tendency that they would climb the mangroves and collect some organisms,” he said in a report.
The official said it is important to protect the mangroves as they serve as breeding places for 70 percent of the marine species and preserving them would help ensure that there would be fish and other resources available for future generations.
Mangroves could help protect the area from possible storm surges and tsunamis, and mitigate the impact of climate change as they absorb 30 percent more carbon dioxide than the terrestrial trees, he said.
Marcilla added they will continue to educate local stakeholders on the benefits as well as the need to protect and conserve the city’s remaining mangrove forests.
“We hope people will understand and appreciate what we’re doing and why we need to protect these resources,” he said. (PNA)