Runners sprint to save Cagsao wetlands

Runners from Albay dominate the Jingle Bell Run – Run to Save Our Wetlands at SM Mall in Naga City on Dec. 19, 2010. Inset photo shows Team Albay runners Mario Maglinao (left) shows off his medal after being awarded 1st Place by DENR CENRO Personnel Gail Cea (center) and a JCI representative. The marathon sponsored by the Junior Chamber International Naga Cariñosa and supported by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources seeks to raise fund and public awareness on wetlands conservation. Cagsao Wetland Area in Calabanga, Camarines Sur is the beneficiary of the activity.

Using the resurgence of running as a booming sport nowadays, runners and environmentalists alike campaigned for the conservation of wetlands in Camarines Sur pooling several hundreds of advocates yesterday at SM Mall in Naga City.

Mario Maglinao ruled the Jingle Bell Run – Run to Save Our Wetlands 13 K event with a time of 40 minutes, trailing behind him was Martin Balaybo both of Albay Runners Club. Local duathlon athlete Franklin Peñalosa managed to outrun other runners which earned him the third place.

“It’s good to run and promote healthy lifestyle as well campaign for environmental conservation,” Maglinao said in the local dialect. Maglinao accompanied by his team mates, urged every runner to hit the road and compete, and if it would permit, join every fund raising events for the environment.

Race director Andreco Primero said Sunday’s run sought to raise fund and heighten awareness of the public on the conservation of the region’s wetlands specifically Cagsao in Calabanga, Camarines Sur.

Gail Cea, chief of the protected areas wildlife and coastal zone management section of the DENR – Community Environment and Natural Resources (CENR) Office in Naga City was deeply appreciative of the Jingle Bell Run organized by Junior Chamber International Cariñosa chapter’s effort to adopt the Cagsao Wetland.

“This will complement the DENR and municipal government of Calabanga’s thrust to protect, rehabilitate and expand the mangrove reforestation project along the town’s coastal barangays,” Cea said. She said the JCI Naga Cariñosa will conduct a mangrove-planting project at identified areas fringing San Miguel Bay soon as they acquire propagules.

Cagsao wetland is now expanding its area with at least 10,000 hectares of mangrove reforestation site, planted with 170, 000 of propagules last year through Smart Communications. Smart Communications estimated the mangrove survival rate at 80-90 per cent.

Under the Ramsar International Wetland Conservation Treaty, wetlands are defined as “areas of marsh, fen, peatland or water, whether natural or artificial, permanent or temporary, with water that is static or flowing, fresh, brackish or salt, including areas of marine water the depth of which at low tide does not exceed six metres… also it may incorporate riparian and coastal zones adjacent to the wetlands, and islands or bodies of marine water deeper than six metres at low tide lying within the wetlands”.

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