By: Estrella Z. Gallardo

Senator Lauren Legarda on April 16, 2015 at a Senate Hall, ahead of the Earth Way on April 22, launches a video documentary on the protection of coral reefs and effects to restore the rainforest of the seas, particularly in the Province of Antique.

“Reefs are the rainforest of the seas. They are vital to the continuity of life in the sea. They protect coastlines from wave and storm erosion and in the sea. They protect coastlines from wave and storm erosion and function as nurseries and habitats for thousands of marine species. But only a small percentage of the country’s coral reefs remain in good condition. Through this video documentary, we highlight approaches to restore and protect our coral reefs, “said Legarda.

The video documentary discusses coral restoration efforts in the municipalities of Anini-y and Pandan in the Province of Antique.

The Municipality of Anini-y has the highest number of transplanted coral fragments among the 12 project sites under the Filipinnovation Coral Restoration Program, a science-based approach in restoring damaged reef areas through a public-private-academe partnership.

Meanwhile, the Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (DOST-PCAARRD) under the Filipinnovation Coral Restoration Program is implementing a project to restore damaged reefs through coral transplantation and coral nursery establishement in Pandan, Antique and other municipalities affected by Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) to help hasten he recovery so that fishing in the spill-over zones or outside of the reef areas can be done again.

The representative of PCAARRD during the meeting after the video presentation) said that PCAARRD is implementing the asexual means of coral propagation from the fragmented parts of the corals (brought about by nature or men) scattered on the seabed, called “the corals of opportunities under the project.

Said Project was implemented in 2012-2013 in designated areas and expected to finish until 2015. This project for antique (Anini-y and Pandan ) was in cooperation of the Philippine Army and Philippine Navy who did the transplanting of the pieces of corals to the corals on the seabed.

She also said that PCCARD uses the asexual means because it is the practical way of doing it (though it affects the genes of the corals to which the fragments are transplanted).

There is no specific model to prescribed to avail of this means since the water condition in the areas vary, she added.

“These programs have already brought significant gains in the communities of Pandan and Anini-y by addressing food security and improving the competitiveness of tourism. We need to support these coral restoration programs in other areas in the country and strengthen community involvement in coral reef protection and preservation,” Legarda stressed.

The video documentary, Antique: Coral Restoration Project, produced by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), in a partnership with the Office of Senator Loren Legarda, Philippine Information Agency (PIA) and Department of Science and Technology (DOST), highlights the Filipinnovation Coral Restoration Program and the Restoring Coral Reefs in Pandan, Antique for Improved Fisheries Productivity under the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (DOST-PCAARRD).

The documentary was directed by Brillante Mendoza and features underwater videography and photography by members of the Network of Underwater Digital Imagers (NUDI)- Robert Suntay, Jan Acosta, Boogs Rosales and Wowie wong.

The video launch was followed by a committee hearing of the Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources, chaired by Legarda, to discuss related measures and to gain insights from government agencies on the status of other coral restoration programs and related initiatives, and from the local government units and private sector on the challenges in protecting marine ecosystems and how to replicate the project in other places.

Senator Loren Legarda in this 16th Congress of the Republic of the Philippines is the Chairperson, Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources; Chairperson, Senate Committee on Climate Change; Chairperson, Senate Committee on Cultural Communities; Vice Chairperson, Senate Committee on Finance;. and United Nations Regional Champion for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaption for Asia-Pacific.(PScijourn MegaManila)