June 15, 2023 Sorsogon City – The Sorsogon Coalition for Environment Protection (SCEP) led by Executive Director Arze Glipo, in cooperation with the City Government led by City Mayor Ester Hamor, held a dialog today at the People’s Mansion, Capitol Compound.

The dialog is a follow-through for concerns raised by the fisherfolk communities of Sorsogon City during the Environment Forum held by the Integrated Rural Development Foundation, Inc. (IRDF) on April 20, 2023 in observance of #EarthWeek at the Villa Isabel, Sorsogon City.

The dialog, called for by the Mayor herself upon learning about the concerns, was about the impacts the Sorsogon City Coastal Road had on the mangroves and the fisherfolk.

The coalition called for a stop to  further reclamation, including that being done by SM Sorsogon City.

Concerns raised

  1. Marine and fish food security has been affected by the dumping (?) covering of the mangrove areas during the construction of the Sorsogon City Coastal Road, causing the loss of sanctuary / breeding places of marine life. Crablets, a major resource sought after by other provinces in the Philippines, small shrimps, and fingerlings are no longer seen in near-shore.
  2. Due to the reduction of marine and fish catch caused by the dumping over of the mangrove areas, alternative sources of livelihood should be provided
  3. The free flow of seawater was hampered, causing stagnation of water in some areas
  4. Flooding caused by the backflow of hindered seawater is now causing flooding during heavy rains and high tide in some communities along the Coastal Road. This may also cause more flooding in areas along Salog River.
  5. The waterway along the Sorsogon City Coastal Road is small so it acts like a funnel, causing strong currents that can cause danger to the fishermen and their small boats
  6. There is no mooring near the seawall; waves may destroy their boats
  7. There are no stairs along the seawall where there are fisherfolk communities
  8. Major businesses are adding to the pollution in Sorsogon Bay; it is observed that marine life is absent where water flows into the Bay from big drainage pipes coming from nearby streams and canals.

In response to these issues, the City Government, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), and the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) made the following agreements:

General Agreements

  1. Stop further reclamation damaging mangrove forest stand.
  2. Enforce the Cease and Desist Order issued by the Philippine Reclamation Authority against SM City reclamation.
  3. There must be a lagoon beside the seawall before the Coastal Road that will serve as mooring dock for boats of fishermen and safe area against theft and damage
  4. Fisherfolk to provide the specific locations where repairs to, or additional, waterways will be constructed to allow for the better flow of seawater
  5. Waterways must be enlarged to minimize strong currents due to the funneling of water as it poses danger to small boats
  6. Fisherfolk will assist in the identification and planting of mangroves, nipa, or suitable tree species to provide sustainable shelter and protection to marine life
  7. Geotag locations of existing and future mangrove / nipa / wetlands areas by LGU and relevant agencies.
  8. Comprehensive consultation with affected communities regarding the environmental protection and conservation and livelihood security impacts must be done

 City Government

  1. For the Office of the Mayor to issue an Executive Order creating the multi-sectoral Task Force on Sorsogon Bay concerns
  2. City ENRO to implement measures such as identification and implementation of wetlands in suitable places, as mitigating measure to previous mangrove destruction and as tourism attraction
  3. Further discussions with fisherfolk (initially those who attended the dialog) regarding issues raised and how these can be minimized / mitigated
  4. Initiate the completion of the Sorsogon Bay Unified Fisheries Ordinance
  5. Construction of housing for informal settlers / displaced fisherfolk along the Coastal Road and affected communities
  6. Include mangrove tree planting under the annual 1 Million Trees project of the Kalikasan program of the province
  7. Include ecotourism areas in the Forest Land Use / Comprehensive Land Use Plans
  8. The following livelihood projects may be provided:
    1. Nipa vinegar (and other viable by-products) production in Abuyog
    2. Bigger fishing boats – need further analysis
    3. Other livelihood projects for women (katipay or capiz shell marketing, fish drying and processing, etc)


  1. To construct mooring docks for boats inside the lagoon
  2. To construct stairs along seawall in fisherfolk communities
  3. Incorporate the suggestions above to improve the design of future coastal roads.
  4. To ensure that infrastructure projects are designed and implemented based on thorough public consultations and environmental impact


  1. Considering that the DENR penalizes violations of mangrove tree cutting and charcoal production, it should immediately enforce law on this.
  2. DENR to implement the Cease and Desist Order against the reclamation being done by SM
  3. DENR Research to conduct study together with City ENRO in coordination with the PENRO-LGU, BFAR on the impacts of businesses allowing wastewater entry into Sorsogon Bay (Peter Paul, SM)
  4. DENR Research Division in coordination with the City ENRO, BFAR, to conduct study on suitable mangrove or other tree species in Sorsogon Bay
  5. Rehabilitation and geotagging of affected mangrove areas (to include possibly earth balling) in coordination with the City ENRO, PENRO-LGU, DENR, and BFAR


  1. In coordination with fisherfolk and LGU, conduct through study to assess the status of marine and fish species in Sorsogon Bay and identify the marine and fish species that have reduced harvest (ex. Crab, green mussel, oyster, seaweed)
  2. Assist in the conduct of other relevant mangrover and fish stock studyin Sorsogon Bay.

Policy and Governance

  1. Strictly enforce policy on cutting of mangroves in all areas by DENR and LGUs
  2. Final crafting and implementation of the Unified Fishing Ordinance
  3. Strict implementation of the Ordinance by the Integrated FARMC
  4. Coastal Road design
    1. bigger and shorter-spaced waterways to allow for better water flow
    2. allow for water run-off due to backflow of seawater during high tide and continuous rainfall, that will potentially flood not only those near the bay but also along the barangays beside the Salog River
    3. allow for mooring docks and stairs along seawalls for fishing communities
    4. fisherfolk must be consulted prior to the construction of coastal roads since they will know where the waterways need to be constructed
  5. Create business models and business plans for the alternative livelihood programs of displaced fisherfolk
  6. Empower women through the alternative livelihood programs

The participants of the dialogues are representatives of fisherfolks and women from Bgys. Mahingan, Sampaloc, Abuyog of Sorsogon City, members of the Sorsogon Coalition for Environment Protection, officials and staff of the DPWH, DENR, BFAR, Provincial LGU of Sorsogon, Mayor Ester Hamor, CENRO-Sorsogon City, and IRDF.


City to Assist in Nipa-based Products

 June 15, 2023 Sorsogon City – City Mayor Ester Hamor will assist in the provision of a factory for nipa-based products.

In a dialog with fisherfolk held today at the People’s Mansion, Capitol Compound, Sonny Gregorio,  Chairman of Sorsogon Bay Aquatic and Fisherfolks Association_of Barangay Abuyog, this City, said that he can make vinegar and 36 products out of nipa.

According to  Mr. Gregorio_________, one nipa tree can produce 1 liter of juice / sap per day. Considering that there is reportedly over 1 million trees of nipa in Sorsogon, the 1 million liters per day can produce livelihood options for many communities.

He has the formulae needed to produce the 36 products, and is willing to share the knowledge so that others can also be helped.

Mayor Hamor got interested, and promised to visit _Bgy Abuyog_ the very next day, to see the available nipa-based products.

She also said that if _the association______ has an available area, the City Government can construct a facility for processing of these products. #