The Real Madrid star, Christian Ronaldo (CR7) was officially crowned as the ambassador to Bali Mangrove Care Forum in the presence of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY) in the series of ‘Save the Mangrove, Save the Earth in 2013’ in the Telaga Waja Beach mangrove area at Tanjung Benoa, Badung, Wednesday (Jun 26). Ronaldo in particular was appointed ambassador to mangrove by the Artha Graha Care Foundation. The arrival of Ronaldo was enthusiastically welcomed by thousands of students and residents attending the event.
After receiving a certificate of mangrove ambassador from the Indonesian Forestry Minister Zulkifli Hasan, Ronaldo admitted to be very pleased to bear the predicate. Ronaldo, wearing a blue T-shirt in combination of red, green and white on his chest, claimed it was an honor for him to be a mangrove ambassador.
He also admitted to be very pleased to be visiting Bali. “I am very excited to visit Bali,” he said in his speech.
The former star of Manchester United also told about his early interest in being a mangrove ambassador. Not long ago, he met a national businessman Tommy Winata. To Ronaldo, Tommy Winata revealed the idea about the protection of mangroves and asked him to become a mangrove forest ambassador. Ronaldo was immediately impressed and interested in the offer. “Some time ago, Mr. Tommy Winata met me and gave this idea to become an ambassador to mangrove forest. I was immediately drawn to the advice,” said the lover of Irina Shayk.
Aside from requested by the national employer Tommy Winata, the goodwill of Ronaldo to become the ambassador to mangrove was also inspired by the story of a child survivor from the tsunami in Aceh, Martunis. According to the Minister of Forestry Zulkifli Hasan, the love of Ronaldo to mangrove actually originated from the Aceh tsunami in 2004. “The love of Ronaldo to mangrove started from the tsunami in Aceh and the citizen named Martunis from Aceh,” said Zulkifli.
Aceh tsunami claimed the parents, sister and extended family of Martunis. He was the victim and adrift at sea for nine days. Eventually, he survived from the death after being caught in mangrove trees. Accidentally, at the tsunami disaster Martunis put on Portuguese jersey number 7 under the name of Cristiano Ronaldo. The news on Martunis boy surviving at sea and stuck in mangroves was exposed by media and the news reached the ears of Ronaldo and his family in Portugal. Ronaldo wanted to come to Aceh and meet Martunis who had lost their parents. Ronaldo then sent Martunis to school and gave him a mobile phone. From there, his love to mangrove forest appeared and continued until now. Even, he held a predicate as a mangrove ambassador.
Ronaldo hoped that his action could raise public awareness to maintain and continue to preserve the mangrove forests. “I do hope my role in Bali today can provide encouragement and initiative to save mangroves,” he said.
The Real Madrid player with back number 7 was also grateful to the President and First Lady Ani Yudhoyono. “Once again, I would like to thank Mr. President and First Lady. I love being able to come to Indonesia,” added the Portuguese national team player.
Meanwhile, the president appreciated the presence of Ronaldo as the ambassador to mangrove. SBY even called Ronaldo as a friend while giving a speech in front of thousands of children and residents. Yudhoyono called on all the parties involved to save the mangroves.
In order to save the future of the world, said SBY, then the forest should be cared for and preserved including the mangrove trees. “Our homeland has forest spreading across the area of 130 million hectares and mangrove forest area of approximately at 3.7 million hectares. Let’s take care, plant and preserve them in order our environment can recover,” he said.
SBY expressed his admiration and proud while vivaciously planting and greening the mangrove forest area in Bali.
“I’m proud of Bali, where the other regions burn their forest but Bali is diligent to plant. I want that all the people of Indonesia to have the same spirit as Bali in caring for and maintaining the forests,” expected SBY.
On that occasion, SBY and Ronaldo were accompanied by the ministers of the United Indonesia Cabinet Volume II and local officials made their time to plant mangrove trees together. Throughout the event, Ronaldo continued to be cheered by his fans. (BTN/kmb)