Mangroves provide habitat to many marine animals. These trees hold the ground, thus preventing erosion since there is a general tendency for the sea to engulf the land. The Tan Yan Kee Foundation, Inc. (TYKFI) recognizes the many other benefits of Mangroves aside from the ones mentioned. Thus, the Foundation, in partnership with the Municipality of Sta. Cruz, Ilocos Sur, launched “Las-Ud Mangrove Project” last August 14. 2014. It was attended by Hon. Teresita Valle (Mayor, Sta. Cruz, Ilocos Sur); Former DENR ASec Marlo Mendoza, Mr. Philip Sing, Ms. Elizabeth Alba, Mr. Jonathan Anuma, Ms. Valerie Tan and Ms. Janel Badlis ( Tan Yan Kee Foundation Representatives); Mr. Joseph S. Gumnad (OIC-Municipal Agriculturist) and Mr. Larry C. Calleja (AT/ MENRO); Mr. Antonio Lozano (Brgy. Captain, Las-Ud Sta. Cruz) and its Kagawad, Barangay Health Workers and member of 4P’s.
The purpose of this project is for coastal protection, as the dense root systems of mangrove forests trap sediments flowing down rivers and off the land. This helps stabilize the coastline and prevents erosion due to waves and storms. In areas where mangroves have been cleared, coastal damage from hurricanes and typhoons proved to be much more severe. By filtering out sediments, the forests also protect coral reefs and seagrass meadows from being smothered by the sediments.
In his welcome remarks, Barangay Captain Antonio Lozano mentioned the benefits of mangroves for the community, “ang mga bakawang ito ang magsisilbing kanlungan ng mga isda at iba pang mga nilalang na nabubuhay sa tubig upang sila’y mangitlog at magparami.” He added, “ang bawat punla ng bakawan na ating itatanim ay siyang magiging depensa ninyong mga naninirahan dito sa Las-Ud laban sa bagsik ng bagyo, tsunami o storm surge at baha.”
Former DENR ASec Marlo Mendoza shared the 4 impacts of the Mangrove Project: provisioning, regulating, support and socio-cultural function. Aside from being the breeding ground of fishes, balancing the ecosystem, and cycling the nutrients, mangroves also provide ecotourism as they offer aesthetics in the area. Afterwards the discussion, Mayor Teresita Valle gave her response to TYKFI, “With your good cause, I assure you – we Sta. Cruzinians are behind you and always ready to support you.”
The program ended with the planting of more than 3,700 Bakawan seedlings and propagules. The community members expressed their appreciation of the project, “Salamat sa Tan Yan Kee Foundation, salamat sa lahat ng tulong ninyo sa amin para hindi kami bahain. First time lang po na may tumulong po ng ganito sa aming barangay kaya po napakaswerte po namin. Lahat po kami dito ay siguradong makikinabang,” said Kagawad Josefina Yumang.