CDA Region IV-B EO

Cooperative Heroes: Working Together to Heal Oil-Contaminated Areas – How Malugay Farmers Agriculture Cooperative Battled the Oil Spill

In the heart of Barangay Malugay, Socorro, a remarkable story of resilience, community spirit, and environmental stewardship unfolded in the wake of a devastating maritime disaster. On the fateful morning of February 28, 2023, the sinking of MT Princess Empress off the coast of Naujan, Oriental Mindoro, sent shockwaves through the provinces of Antique, Batangas, Oriental Mindoro, and Palawan. The incident unleashed an oil spill, threatening the very lifeline of these coastal communities.

Malugay Farmers Agriculture Cooperative, a recently registered cooperative of 28 coconut farmers with profound ties to the land, emerged as an inspiration of hope amidst the confusion and uncertainty that followed. Their story serves as a monument to the resilient Filipino spirit and the efficacy of group effort.

From Farm to the Frontlines: A Noble Cause

The cooperative wasted no time in answering the appeal for assistance as the impending ecological calamity loomed over the shoreline. They made the incredible decision to contribute their COCO COIR, a natural, biodegradable substance made from coconut husks, to make spill booms and oil absorbers in a wonderful act of solidarity. On March 10, 2023, they gave a substantial donation that provided municipality of Pola, a community that had been severely hit, with a lifeline.

The cooperation extended beyond the cooperative itself, as they joined hands with the Local Government Unit (LGU), Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (MDRRMO) of Socorro, and the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA). Together, they worked tirelessly to combat the environmental crisis that threatened their beloved coastal community.

From Coco Coir to a Kilometer of Protection: A Huge Effort

As the weeks went by and the gravity of the oil spill crisis became apparent, the PCA reached out to Malugay Farmers Agriculture Cooperative with an ambitious request – to fabricate a floating oil spill boom spanning one kilometer. Without hesitation, the cooperative accepted the challenge, embodying the true essence of Bayanihan.

They began the enormous process of building this massive protective barrier on April 17, 2023. 15 devoted members of the cooperative gave their all to the endeavor over the course of 22 exhausting days. They were committed to defending their coastal community, but they were also deeply motivated to preserve the ecosystem for future generations to inherit.

A Legacy of Unity, Resilience, and Environmental Stewardship

The tale of the Malugay Farmers Agriculture Cooperative, which rose from modest coconut fields to the fore of environmental protection, needs to be honored. Their deeds serve as an example of the strength of cooperation, cooperative spirit, and unshakable commitment to protecting our coastlines.

The cooperative’s efforts offer optimism in a world where environmental problems are only getting worse. They serve as a reminder that despite difficulties, people can band together to safeguard the environment and have a lasting impact.

The cooperative’s selflessness, resilience, and commitment to environmental stewardship will not soon be forgotten. They have not only breathed life into their cooperative but have also left an indelible mark on the shores of Oriental Mindoro, inspiring us all to strive for a sustainable future.