“Climate action is local”

August 6, 2021

MANILA, 6 August 2021 —  The 56th episode of “Stories for a Better Normal: Pandemic and Climate Change Pathways” featured gender-responsive climate programs of local government units (LGUs) that topped this year’s “Mga Kwentong KLIMA-likasan Tungo sa Katatagan: A Climate and Disaster Resiliency Recognition Awards,” an initiative of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) launched in March of this year in observance of National Women’s Month.


The online conversation conceptualized and hosted by three-term Senator, now Deputy Speaker and Antique Representative Loren Legarda featured guests including DENR Undersecretary Analiza Teh; Ms. Annadine Manzinares, Municipal Environment and Natural Resources Officer (MENRO) of Botolan, Zambales (First prize winner); Dr. Eduardo M. Bisquera Jr., Assistant City Environment and Natural Resources Officer (CENRO) of Zamboanga City (Second prize winner); and Mayor Maria Clarita G. Limbaro of Bayabas, Surigao del Sur (Third prize winner). Atty. Ipat Luna served as the co-host for the episode.


“Climate change is an issue that affects all of us, whether you’re in the city or in the province, in lowland areas or in the mountains or in coastal areas. Hindi tayo makapagtatago sa climate change, kaya ito ay kailangan nating harapin nang sabay-sabay. Mahalaga na laging maging handa sa mga epekto ng nagbabagong klima sa pamamagitan ng climate change adaptation and mitigation at disaster risk reduction,” said Atty. Luna.


“Mga Kwentong KLIMA-likasan Tungo sa Katatagan” features stories and narratives of women and men, and organizations, addressing the impacts of climate change in their communities through gender-responsive programs related to environmental protection and conservation, climate change, and disaster risk reduction.


“Aside from promoting gender empowerment, we are promoting also good stories at gusto natin talagang tumuntong sa hope-based communication para makita nila na kung lahat tayo ay sama-sama, may pag-asa pa po para mas higit pa nating mapaigting ang ating pagkilos para sa kalikasan,” said Usec. Teh.


The local government of Botolan in Zambales won the first prize with their entry, “Women Leadership, Trailblazers of Environmental Sustainability.” It showcased the programs and projects they initiated to achieve environmental sustainability in their municipality which includes programs on Artificial Reef with Coral Transplantation; Mangrove and Reforestation; Sustainable Eco-Tourism; Disaster Preparedness; and Solid Waste Management.


“We have the “Basura Mo, Palit Mo” Program that started in 2017 where 1kg of plastic waste can be exchanged with 1kg of rice. It encourages the household level to segregate their wastes. We also have Botolan Waste Products such as Eco-bricks made from plastic wastes; Fish Amino Acid made of fish entrails/trash from the municipal market; and Eco-soil (soil conditioner) made from rotten fruits and vegetables also from market wastes. [These projects] aim to minimize the wastes being dumped in the sanitary landfill and to create a simple income-generating program out of waste for the MRF operators,” said Manzinares.


The local government of Zamboanga City, the second prize winner, shared that their initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions were also components of their Local Climate Change Action Plan or LCCAP. Their mitigation measures include Waste to value; Establishment of Transfer Station and Material Recovery Facilities; Developing the City Water front and heritage walk development; Construction of climate resilience building; and Conduct of rehabilitation, reforestation and enhancement projects on the city’s watershed and central district mangrove forest areas.


“The forests are the world’s largest carbon sinks along with the ocean, atmosphere and soil. Protecting these vital ecosystems is essential for tackling climate change and keeping our climate stable. In the year 2020, a 30-hectare Watershed Rehabilitation/ Reforestation Project was completed within the Pasonanca Watershed area, the main source of the city’s potable, domestic, industrial and agricultural water. A total of 33,702 seedlings of indigenous tree species were successfully planted,” said Bisquera.


The local government of Bayabas in Surigao del Sur, the third prize winner, introduced the Sagip-Wakatan program, an annual mangrove reforestation, replanting, and coastal cleanup initiative that aims to maintain and improve the mangrove cover density to help protect the community against destructive effects of storm surges, tidal waves, tsunami, and soil erosion.


“I always believe that what we do today defines our future.  Sagip-Wakatan program is not just saving the mangroves, but it will always be part of saving our environment for our children. For the changing climate, the strong community ownership and co-ownership of ecosystem conservation is a resilient foundation of a community,” said Mayor Limbaro.


Legarda lauded the exemplary efforts of the featured LGUs and encouraged more cities and municipalities to do the same and pursue relevant programs on environmental protection and conservation, climate change, and disaster risk reduction in their communities.


“Ipinapakita natin na sa pag-plant ng mangroves, paggawa ng ecobricks from tingi-tingi at single-use plastic, hanggang sa pagbilang ng ating greenhouse gas emissions, hanggang energy efficiency, at sa lahat ng paraan, kung gusto ay kakayanin… Importante ang climate action dahil ‘yan ay nakakapagbigay ng buhay at pangkabuhayan,” said Legarda.


As an online discussion to promote health, environmental consciousness, and climate-adaptive practices, “Stories for a Better Normal” aims to change the mindset of individuals, families, and communities by demonstrating ways in which a ‘better normal’ can be realized within our communities.


This online discussion is organized in partnership between the Office of Deputy Speaker Legarda and the Climate Change Commission, with support from the Department of Education, Philippine Information Agency, Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities, The Climate Reality Project-Philippines and Mother Earth Foundation. ###