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US officials to plant mangroves in Iloilo City

ILOILO CITY, Feb. 28 – Visiting United States officials in this southern city will join Senator Frank Drilon and city Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog in planting mangroves on Saturday beginning at 9 a.m. near the So-oc Bridge in Barangay So-oc in Arevalo, this city.

US Deputy Chief of Mission (DCM) Leslie A. Bassett and US Agency for International Development (USAID) Mission Director Gloria Steele will also be joined by servicemen from the USS Chafee and staff of the city environment and natural resources office (CENRO) and the City Mayor’s Office in planting mangroves to help save the Iloilo River and rehabilitate the environment.

DCM Bassett will deliver remarks at the event that will also include a river clean-up in the So-oc area in the afternoon. She will be available for a brief interview with the media following her remarks at 9:30 a.m.

The US government, through the US Agency for International Development (USAID), supports mangrove reforestation for enhancing biodiversity conservation and as a climate change adaptation strategy.

USAID assistance to restore mangrove forest has been initially focused on Verde Island Passage covering the provinces of Batangas and Mindoro in Luzon.

The mangrove-planting is a community outreach event carried out as part of "America in 3D roadshow" program by the US Embassy and a personal initiative of Ambassador Harry K. Thomas Jr.

Meanwhile DCM Bassett will participate in a school painting project at the Esteban Juntado Sr. Memorial Elementary School in Barangay Calumpang, Molo, Iloilo City on the same day after the mangrove-planting activity.

The DCM will be joined by sailors from the USS Chafee, volunteers from the 1Meal program and local residents in painting school classrooms following her brief remarks.

America in 3D, to be held at SM City Iloilo, is a celebration of Filipino-American friendship, showcasing American culture, US business and US Embassy services in the Philippines.

The public will enjoy dance and musical performances presenting the best of America, from ballroom to blues to Broadway and even hip-hop. The U.S. Navy’s high energy rock-and-roll band, The Orient Express, will perform favorite hits during America in 3D.

Don’t miss the free samples of American food, or the exhibit of American cars and motorbikes. Visitors to the event can find out about all of the ways that the U.S. and the Philippines are connected – and learn how to do business with the US, apply for a US visa, and even study in the USA. (PNA) RMA/LAP/ajp/LCPendon/vlo

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