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PIA Press Release

Young students air appeal to protect the environment

by PS Mabaquiao

San Jose, Antique (22 October) -- It was a fatal day of June 21, 2008 when typhoon Frank devastated Panay island and other parts of the country affecting 1,743,815 persons, with 600 deaths and missing persons and billions of damages in properties.

While the people in Region 6 are still on the process of rehabilitation, another disaster hit in other parts of the country the most recent of which was Typhoon Ondoy and Pepeng that ravaged lives and properties in billions in Luzon.

This recollection of grim scenario was dramatized by pupils of Sido-San Juan Elementary School in Sibalom, Antique during the symposium on Global Warming and Climate Change and Green Wave Biodiversity Campaign organized by Youth for Environment in School - Organization (YES-O), a student organization in Sido-San Juan National High School.

The skit dramatized a situation which a family suffered after destroying the forest covers and other natural resources using the wrong practice of upland agriculture for survival. The underworld (dwarfs and fairies)warned them of the bad practices (through unforeseen ways like head aches and body pains) but they did not heed the call. This wanton abuse of the environment took its toll when heavy floods and landslides came leaving the family helpless because of loss of children and their properties, not even the underworld signs and signals could stop them from continuing with their ill practices.

The synthesis of the story was that, the underworld has nothing to with the disasters, it was the makings of the human beings that wipe out indigenous trees growing near the streams, brooks, and caves and other human practices that made the environment vulnerable to destruction.

Who then should take charge of protecting the environment asked John Temana Information Officer of DENR during the symposium? One student answered, "Protecting the environment is everybody's concern, or else we all suffer the consequences of environmental destruction."

"We will do it ourselves, said Dennis Pagtalunan, YES-O member. Aside from planting and growing trees in our backyards, school and farms, we will also learn to reduce, re-use and recycle the things we utilize everyday."

These reactions from young leaders are typical manifestations of persons who dearly suffered from gross negligence of elders who did not care about the future generations except their material gains.

A documentary produced by the national multi-sectoral committee on climate change and global warming was shown during the symposium where students expressed their opinion on issues presented in the film and their responses or plan of action in their own little way to cushion its effect to mankind.

Temana, discussed the topics on ecology, environment and biodiversity and presented the State of Environment of the Province of Antique including the documentation on the damages and rehabilitation undertaken due to Typhoon Frank that devastated Panay Island in 2008.

On the other hand, Mirza Samillano, Planning Officer of DENR also noted that Antique has a total forest cover of 60,851.5 hectares composed of virgin (or close) and open forest, mangroves and forest plantation, 57,376 hectares of grasslands(natural, shrubs and woody grasslands) which needs to be protected since they serve as watershed areas of the province' major rivers.

DENR also reported that Antique's major rivers are vulnerable to landslides and erosion because of the fact that its watershed are located in steeply high slope areas and big portions of the areas are alienable and disposable lands that are being cultivated.

There are also two natural parks in the province, the Sibalom Natural Park and the Northwest Panay Peninsula Natural Park, home to critically endangered wildlife species which is considered as hotspot area for conservation and protection.

The challenge now is for everyone to help in the conservation and protection of Antique's environment and natural resources and implement solid waste management programs to ensure safety of future generations.

DENR advocacy campaign for climate change made the students realize their role as responsible keepers and protectors of our environment. They vowed to help in the advocacy making the environment friendly. [PIA] [top]

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