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Speech: Press Launch of the Museum of PH Biodiversity and Junyee’s Installation Art

May 22, 2017

Speech of Senator Loren Legarda*
Press Launch of the Museum of PH Biodiversity and Junyee’s Installation Art
22 May 2017 |Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife Center, Quezon City
(*Read by a Representative)

Today, we celebrate the International Day for Biological Diversity and I am pleased to be with the employees of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources – Biodiversity Management Bureau (DENR-BMB), who are frontliners in the management and conservation of our biodiversity and protected areas.

It is an opportune time to launch the Museum of Philippine Biodiversity project as well as Junyee’s installation art today and at this venue because the theme for this year’s celebration is “Biodiversity and Sustainable Tourism”.

The Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife Center, a protected area amidst our highly urbanized environment, is an embodiment of the theme. It is a tourist attraction and at the same time, sanctuary for rescued and abandoned animals.

In different parts of the country, sustainable tourism is a continuing challenge. Some of our natural tourist sites are poorly managed. But we could get inspiration from areas which have made sustainable tourism an advocacy and more than just a source of profit, like the El Nido Resorts in Palawan, which promotes environmental stewardship through its Environmental Code of Conduct called “Ten El-NiDos,” reminding guests about environmentally sensitive Protected Areas.

According to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, “A well-managed tourist sector can contribute significantly to reducing threats to, and maintain or increase, key wildlife populations and biodiversity values through tourism revenue.”

Through our projects with the DENR-BMB, we hope to propagate these ideas.

Junyee’s installation art, “Ugnayan”, while originally meant to visualize the unity and cooperation of the 21 nations composing the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) in pursuit of common goals in various fields, also serves as a reminder of our ugnayan with Mother Earth and our duty to protect and conserve our ecosystems.

Thank you, Junyee, for sharing your gift of art, and your talent of using indigenous and organic materials.

I am likewise looking forward to the completion of the Museum of Philippine Biodiversity. I have envisioned this project to be an instrument for people to appreciate the natural bounty of our country, realize the effects of our exploitative practices, and hopefully be engaged in efforts to rehabilitate and preserve what is left of our protected areas and biodiversity.

I thank the University of the Philippines Diliman for undertaking this project with the DENR-BMB.

The upcoming museum and the constructed installation art within the park should not only serve as additional attractions but also instruments that will broaden our perspective and deepen understanding about biodiversity.

It should not be hard for us Filipinos to realize that we are fortunate to be living in a country that is considered a mega-biodiversity country. With our declining ecosystems and the continuing climate change that has been greatly caused by environmental degradation, I hope that we can all take a moment to pause and examine ourselves and how our way of life has affected the other living things that we share the Earth with.

Employees of the DENR and BMB are already aware of the challenges ahead. I hope you would never get tired of doing what is good for our planet. We are confronted with the task of protecting our country’s unique, and at the same time endangered, biodiversity. Pursuing a kind of development that has genuine regard for the state of our natural wealth has never become more crucial than it is today.

Let us use this installation and the upcoming museum as the starting point to encourage people to step-up for the welfare of our environment and participate in its conservation.

Thank you and good morning.