U.S. military divers assist PHL partners in installing artificial reefs

U.S. and Philippine divers install 30 jackstone-type artificial habitat reefs near Barangay Hukay, Calatagan, Batangas on August 15, 2019.

BATANGAS —U.S. and Philippine service members, local government workers, and non-governmental organizations partnered to install artificial habitat reefs at Barangay Hukay, Calatagan, Batangas on August 15, 2019.

The project, dubbed Operation Pamamalakaya, is a collaboration between the Philippine Air Force, DV Boer Farm, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, Community Environment and Natural Resources Office, and Municipality of Calatagan local government and residents. The U.S. military participated with six divers and five support crew members.

The launching event installed a total of 30 jackstone-type artificial habitat reefs made from simple construction materials.  These reefs will serve as shelter, food sources, and breeding areas for wildlife.  Coral will eventually cover the sunken structure, revitalizing marine life and improving fishing livelihoods in the coastal communities of Batangas.

“Artificial reef planting is a lifesaving human endeavor. A small contribution to the underwater ecosystem but a great catalyst to the socio-economic development of the coastal communities,” said Lieutenant Colonel Engelberto Nioda Jr, Group Commander, 730th Combat Group, 710th Special Operations Wing, Philippine Air Force.

“This project was a fantastic opportunity for us to partner with our friends in the PAF and help preserve the Philippine environment for future generations,” said Major Zach Hart, a participating diver.

The United States, as a longstanding friend, partner, and ally of the Philippines, continues to provide support to Filipino communities with marine conservation projects.