DAVAO CITY, Philippines – A fun run aimed to raise funds and contribute to the rebuilding and rehabilitation of coastal barangays in Mindanao is being organized by the Junior Chamber International (JCI) Philippines and the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) through its flagship program MindaNOW! Nurturing Our Waters Program.

Slated on June 1, the activity, entitled "We Run, We Care" is designed to generate resources for the replanting of mangroves areas in Davao Oriental that were destroyed by Typhoon Pablo in 2012, and provide assistance in the rehabilitation of the coastal barangays that were affected by the Zamboanga incident in September last year.

"We target to register 1,000 runners in Davao City and raise an initial fund of P100,000," said Hegem Furigay, JCI area vice-president for Mindanao while adding "a simultaneous run will also happen in Zamboanga City as part of the initiative."

He said that proceeds of the fun run will be dedicated for the establishment of nurseries for mangrove seedlings and eventually start up tree-growing activities in the target areas, which will become a source of livelihood among affected residents.

The identified pilot areas are the communities in Barangay Baculin in Baganga, Davao Oriental, and Barangay Mampang in Zamboanga City.

"We hope that through this activity, we can assist in protecting our environment as well as provide livelihood opportunities to the affected families of our target barangays, many of whom are still in need of support and assistance in order to fully recover," added Furigay.

The activity is also in support to the National Greening Program (NGP), a flagship project of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) that aims to plant 1.5 billion trees covering 1.5 million hectares for a period of six years from 2011 to 2016.

"We encourage similar efforts of collaboration particularly those that support our goal of protecting Mindanao's environment while contributing to the NGP target of replanting the country's denuded forest areas," said MinDA Chairperson Luwalhati Antonino.

She added that through MindaNOW! Program, MinDA is also working with DENR and the Department of Interior and Local Government in the full implementation the Barangay StraTREEgic Forest Project (BSFP) through the Barangay Forest Program (BFP), a component of the NGP.

The project aims rehabilitate natural habitats and strengthen multi-sectoral commitment in the reforestation of Mindanao's denuded areas.

"We initially target 200 barangays in Mindanao as part of this campaign, and we hope to engage them in massive reforestation activities aimed to generate at least 2 million seedlings of forest trees to be planted among typhoon-prone and perennially flooded areas in the island-region," said Antonino.

JCI is a world-wide non-profit voluntary organization of young people who seek targeted and sustainable solutions to the unique problems in their local communities by using the United Nation's Millennium Development Goals (UNMDG) as a guide.

The fun run is a collaborative project of nine JCI local organizations in the Davao Region, of which its conduct falls under the UNMDG number 7, which is "to ensure environmental sustainability." The initiative is also in line with the aims of the MindaNOW! Program, which is to uphold environmental integrity and to facilitate projects that are focused on climate change mitigation and adaptation.

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