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The Mangroves and Beach Forest Greenbelts Declaration

Monday, December 9, 2013 - 17:30
We, representatives of the academe, communities, non-governmental organizations, concerned citizens and groups affected by the destruction of mangrove ecosystems in the country, fully cognizant of the fact that:

The Philippines is an archipelagic country whose coastline previously contained extensive mangroves and beach forest covers and whose mangrove species diversity is one of the highest in the world;

Mangrove ecosystems serve as island builders, provide nursery habitats for fish, crustaceans and other aquatic organisms, provide useful plant materials for fisherfolks, sequesters carbon, provide sediment stabilization and many other ecosystem services;

Mangrove ecosystems have now been almost depleted due to overharvesting, conversion to fishponds and other developments;

Fisherfolks and coastal communities have immeasurably suffered from mangrove ecosystem destruction, losing lives and livelihood in the absence of their natural barriers from storm surges, as evidenced by the aftermath of recent superstorm events like Yolanda and Pablo.

Do hereby:

1. Declare a moratorium on reclamation projects and other coastline projects that impact on the mangrove ecosystems
2. Demand that the government strictly implement and enforce existing laws and rules and regulations regarding the protection of mangroves and other greenbelt laws that require buffer zones of 50-100 meters facing open seas and 20-50 meters along riverbanks (e.g., Pres. Decree 705 of 1975, P.D. 953 of 1976, P.D. 1067, MNR Admin. Order 42 of 1986, DENR A.O. 76 of 1987).
3. Emphasize that the restoration and rehabilitation of mangrove ecosystems be incorporated in the development plans of LGUs and the national government
4. Demand from the government the rehabilitation of vulnerable communities along the coast of the country and the provision of livelihood, health and social welfare for fisherfolks.
5. Propose the integration with school subjects disaster preparedness and the continuing education of children regarding mangroves, greenbelt areas and environmental care
6. Seek solidarity from society and specifically from development and environment NGOs in response to issues involving mangroves and greenbelts.
7. Advocate for politically and legally enforceable measures that will hold violators of mangrove laws accountable to affected communities.