Envisioning a more ecologically sound and healthy community, members of the Divilacan Student Advocates for Forest and Environmental Resilience (D-SAFER) in Divilacan, Isabela have committed to conserve marine and forest biodiversity within their town covered by the Northern Sierra Madre Natural Park (NSMNP).
In an environmental youth congress recently held by the municipal local government unit (LGU) in partnership with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Region 2, the one year-old youth organization has crafted an action plan prioritizing marine biodiversity conservation, native tree growing, and waste management activities.
“We need to make the minds of these young students in shape of environmental leadership as the legacy of protecting the northern Sierra Madre will be passed on to them,” said Municipal ENR Officer Arturo Umengan.
With the theme, “Engaging the Youth in Environmental Protection and Conservation,” the youth congress engaged the participants in coastal cleanup and sea turtle monitoring in celebration of the month of the ocean.
Newly-elected D-SAFER President Randy Sogelio said among their priority advocacies is the conservation of marine turtles that maintain the productivity of coral reef ecosystems, thus, ensuring an increased population of fish for the local’s food consumption and livelihood.
“We will conduct information drives in 12 barangays of Divilacan to campaign for sea turtles conservation informing our fishermen to immediately release bycatch turtles and to not disturb when they come to shore to lay eggs,” he added.
The organization will also be conducting regular cleanup drives along coastlines and within the waterways in their community.
Sogelio said the cleanup within waterways will serve as a preventive measure to avoid the recurrence of flood during heavy rains in the town proper.
To promote the ecotourism spots of Divilacan, the organization also committed to improve and develop new sites including the Lanai Marine Turtle Nesting Sanctuary in Brgy. Bicobian in partnership with the LGU.
In his closing message, Engr. Ezikiel Chavez of the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office lauded the youth leaders for their enthusiam and commitment to safeguard the environment and to sustain a cleaner and healthier Divilacan.
During the congress, the members of the organization who are all students of Divilacan National High School were also taught about disaster preparedness, mitigation, and resilience; sustainable ecotourism; ecological solid waste management through the launching of Pinas: Basura Buster; the importance of forest and marine ecosystems of NSMNP; and environmental leadership.
Among the resource speakers were representatives from the DENR, LGU, Provincial Youth Development Office, and Isabela Coastal Development Office.#