Youths train in Morong jungles for ecosystem-based disaster management

Youths train in Morong jungles for ecosystem-based disaster management

Youths train in Morong jungles for ecosystem-based disaster management

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SUBIC BAY FREPORT — This bustling industrial-commercial zone still plays an important role in educating residents on environmental protection and climate-change mitigation by providing real-life outdoor classrooms for ecosystem-based training, the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) reported on Wednesday.
Recently, some 60 members of the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) from communities around the Subic Bay Freeport participated in a disaster-risk management training that focused on the importance of ecosystem and biodiversity in mitigating climate change.
Dubbed as EcoDRRM, or Ecosystem-Based Disaster Risk Reduction and Management, the US Embassy-sponsored project sought to empower participants through outdoor workshops on the pivotal contributions of mangrove, forests and seagrasses to climate change mitigation.
The three-day training conducted under the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI), brought youth leaders from Olongapo City, Castillejos, Zambales and Morong, Bataan to various ecosystems in the Subic Bay Freeport that served as backdrop for the program.
The activity was spearheaded by a team of United States-Philippines exchange alumni who won the Small Grant Competition and was given funding to support the conduct of the EcoDRRM project.
Rhea Jane Mallari, an environment officer at the SBMA Ecology Center and team leader of the project, said the participants heard lectures on disaster risk management, community risk mapping, climate change adaptation, and other related topics on the first day.
The second day then took the participants to a mangrove area at Sitio Sabang in Morong, Bataan, where they planted mangrove saplings and learned about how the mangrove and seagrass eco-systems serve as bio-shield for natural disasters.
On Day 3, the youth participants trekked the Pamulaklakin forest where they learned about the importance of forests in disaster prevention and received demonstrations on jungle survival, preparing healthy foods during evacuation, and relieving stress during disaster.
Mallari and fellow US-PH exchange alumnus Patrick Escusa said the participants all hailed the project as “a great learning experience that gave them helpful insights on disaster-risk mitigation.”
“We are very happy that the project succeeded in capacitating the youth in DRRM preparedness and prevention through ecosystem management, and imparted the culture of proactive response rather than reactive response to disasters,” Escusa said.
“We will continue the program by assisting and ensuring that the SK officials will apply what they learned from the training-workshop by conducting their own city or municipal-wide EcoDRRM projects,” Escusa added.
The EcoDRRM project was the latest in a long line of activities here that made use of Subic’s biodiversity to train workers and facilitators in environmental protection and resource conservation.
SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma said Subic Freeport’s vast forest, marine, and freshwater resources provide a diverse ecosystem that makes for realistic learning.
“This is why many researchers and academics chose Subic for the conduct of their studies,” Eisma noted. “And as the country’s first eco-urban center, Subic is ideal for these activities and the SBMA is ever supportive of these projects.”

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