The Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau (ERDB) Team headed by the Urban Ecosystem Research Division (UERD) Chief, Dr. Simplicia A. Pasicolan had successfully conducted two separate (2) events of Information Education and Communication (IEC) regarding the conservation of peatland in Lalaguna Marsh in Lopez, Quezon and Agusan Marsh in Talacogon, Agusan del Sur on October 28 and December 3, 2015 respectively. Various offices both from the public and private sectors in the said areas were represented to participate in these activities.
In Lopez, the program was officially started by For. Joselito Barros of the City Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) who welcomed the guest speakers and participants, as well as the ERDB Team. Afterwards, a brief introduction regarding the importance of supporting the peatland conservation efforts was given by the Tourism Officer and Deputy Administrator of Technologicalcal University of the Philippines, Mr. Jever Ladines. According to Mr. Ladines, protecting the Lalaguna Marsh is globally significant as it is one of the followed routes of the protected migratory waterbirds.
On the other hand, the IEC activity conducted in Talacogon began with the Vice Mayor Rodolfo Bosque greeting the guests, attendees, and organizers. Then, the Development Management Officer (DMO) IV of the Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) Mr. Luis Gonzaga provided a short message focusing on the protection of Agusan Marsh as a preventive measure from various threats such as the submergence of their town in the occurrence of strong typhoons.
In both activities, Dr. Pasicolan started levelling off the understanding of the participants about the peatland ecosystem by characterizing it. The unique characteristics of peatlands are crucial determinants on validating its prospects. Further, she challenged the participants to have a collective conservation effort within their community as peatlands have high value in terms of biodiversity, aesthetics and economics.
The Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction Officer (MDRRO) Michael Sabacajan in Talacogon stirred the concern of the participants by showing images and videos of man-made peatland fires which he documented from 2013 to 2015. Moreover, he tackled about the Municipal Order No 203-2014 they created where he focused mainly on Section 7 detailing the prohibited acts, including the setting of a peatland fire, which could drastically affect the Agusan Marsh.
In both events, the concluding presentations served as reports of the current statuses of the Lalaguna Marsh and the Agusan Marsh vis-a-vis peatland conservation. These were separately discussed by the CENRO Calauag Ecosystems Management Specialist II For. Niňa Veloso and Talacogon Park Superintendent Emmilie Ibonia. Both talked about the threats to the marshes in their respective areas and the corresponding actions that the local government is doing in addressing such.
Awarding of certificates and tokens were distributed to the speakers and the participants as part of the team's appreciation of their presence in the IEC activities. The program ended with the closing remarks given by Dr. Pasicolan in which she challenged the participants to be actively involved in protecting the peatlands and in re-echoing the information about the importance of peatland. Jewel Labita, Girlie Rueda, and Jamella de Castro, UERD