DENR Calabarzon celebrates 45TH Earth Day in Sampaloc Lake

In observance of the 45th Earth Day, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources Region 4A CALABARZON and the San Pablo City government jointly conducted with residents and members of civic groups a series of historical and environmental activities highlighted by the launching of the Urban Greening and Rehabilitation Project of Sampaloc Lake at the San Pablo City Lions' Clubhouse on April 22. The project has for its theme, “Lawa Ko, Ibabalik Ko ang Ganda Mo” and aims to strengthen the rehabilitation and conservation of the biggest among the seven lakes of the city.

“Ang Sampaloc Lake ang tinitingnan na dapat maalagaan at mapaganda dahil malapit ito sa pinakasyudad ng San Pablo, maliban sa isa ito sa pinagkukunan ng kabuhayan ng ating mga kababayan," stressed DENR Calabarzon regional director Reynulfo Juan.

Juan revealed that Sampaloc Lake, along with the other six lakes, are beset with the issue of pollution. He enjoined the residents and the business establishment owners to help in the rehabilitation of the lakes.

The rehabilitation of the lake is also part of the Tourism Master Development Plan of the San Pablo City government and enjoys the support of the local chief executive.

“Ang proyekto para sa ating lawa ay naaayon din sa ating Tourism Master Development Plan. At sa pamamagitan po ng DENR, nakapagbigay po ng tulong pinansyal si Sen. Loren Legarda, na isang kilalang environmentalist," affirmed San Pablo City Mayor Loreto Amante, "Ang lokal na pamahalaan ay patuloy pong nagsisikap na mapabuti pa ang lagay ng lawa."

He also reminded everyone that the lake is for the benefit of every one, and everyone also exert every effort to protect and conserve it.

Amante said the they have allocated some funds and secured lots for the relocation of the informal settlers along the shorelines of the Sampaloc Lake. "Libre po ang paglilipat, ni sentimo ay wala po silang ginastos,” he said.

The city mayor also elaborated on the "zoning” for the fisherfolks and fishcages in all the seven lakes, "Dapat ay magbigay din tayo ng partikular na zone para ating turismo para lahat ng sektor ay napagbibigyan at nakikikinabang sa ating mga lawa."

"Magtulong-tulong tayo upang mas mapaganda pa ang dahil dito lamang po ang syudad sa bansa na may pitong lawa,” he added. 


“The DENR is the main agency of the government which has the mandate to rehabilitate and preserve our natural resources like the Sampaloc Lake. Isa sa mga gawain ngayon ay ang pagtatanim ng mga ornamental at fruit-bearing species around the lake,” explained Forester Eleazer Alaira, Laguna Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer (PENRO).

City, History, Arts, Culture, and Tourism Office acting Assistant Tourism Officer Ma. Donnalyn Eseo, also revealed other upcoming projects of the provincial government for the Sampaloc Lake. “Ngayon po ay nasa LLDA (Laguna Laake Development Authority) na po ang Zone Development Plan ng Sampaloc Lake. Ito po ay ang paglalagay ng mga fish cages sa kabilang bahagi ng lawa na may tamang sukat at distansya."

"Maglalagay din po ng mga floating gardens. Magsisilbi po itong lilim sa mga isda at magbibigay din po sa kanila ng pagkain. Bukod dito, makakatulong din po ito upang ma-prevent ang pollution at mapalinis pa ang tubig ng lawa,” explained Eseo.

She also said that the mayor planned to construct a dancing fountain visible from the coastal area of the lake. "... Upang magbago talaga ang imahe ng Sampaloc Lake. Sa gabi ay plano rin pong magkaroon ng mga activities upang mas makahikayat pa ng mas maraming tao. Mas mahalaga, magsisilbi rin na aerator ang fountain para mas makaikot nang maayos ang tubig.” 


Biking, Coastal Clean-Up and Fingerlings Dispersal

Around 50 bicyclists from Pagsanjan, Rizal and Nagcarlan, Laguna took off at 7 am from the Nagcarlan town hall grounds for the Earth Day "Bike Ride for Sampaloc Lake”

PENRO Alaira and Regional Public Affairs Office chief Gaudencio de la Cruz joined the bicyclists led by Nagcarlan's Team Padyakista and Rizal's Team Bulusok in traversing the 15-kilometer route to San Pablo City to link up with the other participants ―officials and staff from the city government of San Pablo, DENR Regional Office, PENRO Laguna, CENRO Pagsanjan, Laguna PG-ENRO, and residents and officials of the San Pablo City government― in the shoreline clean up and tilapia fingerlings seeding as part of the Earth Day celebration.

DENR Calabarzon chief Juan and San Pablo City councilor Karla Adajar, led the release of some 1,000 Tilapia fingerlings into the waters of Sampaloc Lake whose survival depend on the rehabilitation efforts.


Commitment Signing

Capping off the event was the Commitment Signing where the San Pablo City local government officials signified their commitment to initiate and engage in activities that will help improve and rehabilitate, not only the Sampaloc Lake, and the other six lakes but the entire environment as well.

“Let us be heroes within our own homes by telling our children how to care for the environment. Let us be heroes within our own groups of friends by convincing them to exert effort to protect the environment. Let us be heroes within our communities by leading activities for the welfare and well-being of the environment. Let us be heroes for our own Earth for there is only one Earth; we have only one life to live, it’s now time to lead,” Juan pointed out.

The Earth Day celebration is an annual global event which was started by then U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson after witnessing the ravages of the 1969 massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, California. Since its inception, the environmental undertaking continuously aims to inform the general public about the pressing issues of the environment and show a nation’s political leadership that there should be broad and deep support for the environmental movement. (Jayson Septimo, IO, RPAO)