Green Economy: Does it include you?

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Saturday, May 31, 2014


TODAY starts the commemoration of the World Environment Month, although most countries will kick off their various programs and projects on the 5th to observe this month-long celebration.

Various countries participate with different events ranging from educational excursions to advertising campaigns to increase public awareness in the protection and conservation of the world’s natural resources.

The theme varies every year, which is arranged by the United Nations. “Green Economy: Does It Include You?” is the concern for this year.

And Philippines has never failed to participate in this is mandated law following Proclamation No. 237, series of 1988.

With the series of deadly typhoons that hit the country, the government especially the local government units that had been the hardest hit are re-aligning their programs toward disaster preparedness and response.

Cagayan de Oro has not been spared in 2011 when tropical storm Sendong devastated the city that killed more than a thousand and sent hundreds missing. It also destroyed millions worth of properties.

A lot of the survivors are still picking up the pieces to rebuild what has been left behind. Others have slowly moved on and grappled with their daily sustenance after having been displaced from their source of income.

Intensive awareness

Save CDO Now (SCN) chairperson Ralph Abragan said for this month they are conducting activities that will perpetuate environmental awareness.

“There are so many (environmental) problems these days. A major one is the climate change that has affected greatly our environmental status today,” he said and added, “the people are very much aware of what is going on. Unfortunately, Filipinos as we are, we have been too passive that we forget what happened to us in 2011 during Sendong. People just carry on to their lives as if nothing really happened.”

Abragan said the group will meet up on Tuesday to agree on the long-list of activities for the month of June.

For the heads up, “we are to include information-education activities for the people today. So expect a lot of forums and press conferences. Basically, we want to draw people to participate.”

“We are intensifying the activities for this month because we believe that only on ‘occasion’ are people reminded of the environment. This is a continuous activity anyway […] Padayon lang gyud mi hantod sa makab-ot namo nga ma-aware na gyud ang tanan,” he said.

Greener and stronger

For its part, the Cagayan de Oro City Local Environment and Natural Resources Office (Clenro) also integrates its interactive activities for the month with Save CDO Now.

Even in May, the Ocean’s Month, Clenro had initially started the mangrove planting in barangays Cugman and Bonbon. Although they had finished planting in some parts of Bonbon, they wish to continue planting until they will reach their five-hectare goal.

“Since we are not yet finished with our mangrove planting, we will continue it this June. We have gathered a lot of participants last time from the academe, environment-dedicated organizations, local government units, and agencies - this time, we shall gather more,” Clenro chief Edwin Dael said.

Not only tree-planting is Clenro’s prospect, but also the continuation of their ‘special operations’ on seizing illegal mining and logging activities in the city.

“By special operations, I mean we will have more operations compared with what he had in the previous months. And until we will stop every illegal mining activity out there,” he said.

He also mentioned that illegal logging activities in the city are subdued because of their immediate action in every report they get.

“Once we receive reports, we immediately have a meeting on what to and not to do. We then conduct surprise operations. Currently, they (illegal loggers) are becoming neutralized and hesitant to go back to their operations,” he proudly said.

Dael shared that with his environment advocacy, he has been getting frequent death threats.

“I am used to getting death threats already. But what is worse now is the inclusion of my family,” he said.

Last May 15, 2014, Dael and his team confiscated four major mining equipment in Barangay Tuburan. However, “they are quick on their feet when they saw us. We couldn’t chase them that easily because once we got there, they were gone.”

Dael revealed there are six miners who are facing charges already. Two of them are under deliberation in the court.

“If I will slack off, I am hundred percent sure that the illegal doers who continue to exploit our natural resources will go back to their operations. But I cannot just sit here and be scared,” he said.

Clenro will conduct symposiums that are coordinated with the Oro Youth Development Council and the Solid Waste Management which will be held in the first week of July due to the occupied schedules they have for June.

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on June 01, 2014.

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