Mahalin ang Ating Kultura: Sen. Loren Legarda and Kultura: A shared environmental advocacy

August 4, 2013

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Loren Legarda’s commitment to help preserve the environment has prompted her to spearhead projects that will have impact not only in the Philippines, but also the rest of the world.

Known as a game changer for Asia, amid the increasing risks of a warming world and a changing climate, Senator Loren shares her vision of a safer and greener world for all. She advocates for quality of life, with humans living harmoniously with nature by seeking the path for green growth and sustainable development for nations, and challenging world leaders to save our home planet and preserve humankind.

As the chairperson of the Committee on Foreign Relations in the 15th Congress, the lady senator sponsored the approval of 16 international agreements, deepening the Philippines’ bilateral relations with various nations and promoting the welfare of Filipinos in the country and abroad.

One of these treaties is the agreement between the Government of the Philippines and the International Center for Living Aquatic Resources Management to establish the Office of the WorldFish Center in the Philippines, which will undertake activities for research and development of aquatic and maritime resources in the country and nearby regions.

The World Fish Center is committed to meeting two key development challenges: to improve livelihood in places where fisheries and aquaculture can make a difference, and to achieve large-scale, environmentally sustainable increase in supply and access to fish at affordable prices for poor consumers in developing countries.

“We are blessed with rich and diverse coastal and marine resources such as coral reefs, mangroves, fisheries and many others. However, continued marine degradation and weak enforcement of our fisheries law will continue to deprive our citizens of their basic needs. We should improve our resource management and environmental conservation efforts for the sake of our food security and overall economic development,” she said.

Senator Loren’s inspiring leadership in the global campaign for good environmental governance has brought her both local and international recognition. Even before she became a senator, she was a Likas Yaman (Natural Treasure) Awardee of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. The World Economic Forum held in Davos, Switzerland, named her as one of the Global Leaders for Tomorrow in 2000.

In 2001, the United Nations Environment Program conferred on her the title of UNEP Laureate and included her in the Global 500 Roll of Honor. In 2008, she was appointed by UNISDR as its regional champion for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaption for Asia and the Pacific. She was also awarded by the Priyadarshni Academy in India for her exemplary contributions to the environment. Last month, Senator Loren was hailed by UP as its 2013 Distinguished Alumna for Environmental Protection and Climate Change Adaptation.

Senator Loren’s environmental consciousness has its roots when she was a child growing up in a compound within flood-prone Malabon. “Our compound in Malabon has many fruit bearing trees, which were fun to climb,” she says. “And our clean surroundings also made it possible for us to play in clean floodwaters.”

Through the years, she saw how “pollution has worsened the flooding, dirtying our floodwaters to the point of disrupting the lives of people and business operations in our place. My personal experiences started my passion for saving the environment and promoting the need for sustainable development.”

Now on her third term, re-elected Senator Loren will focus on legislation and programs that will make the lives of Filipinos better. The only female senator to top the Senate race twice, with more than 15 million votes in 1998 and 18.4 million votes in 2007, Legarda has been at the forefront of many landmark environmental laws. In the senatorial elections last May, she was the top choice among re-electionist senators, garnering 18.66 million votes.

Hailed as a green crusader because of her staunch advocacy on environmental issues, particularly those pertaining to forest and marine resources, Senator Loren’s legislative record reflects her environmental advocacies.

She worked for the enactment of laws on environmental governance like the Clean Air Act (RA 8749); the Environmental Awareness Education Act (RA 9512), the Renewable Energy Act (RA 9513); the Solid Waste Management Act (RA 9003); the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act (RA 10121); the Climate Change Act (RA 9729) and its amendatory law (RA 10174), which provides for the creation of the People’s Survival Fund.

As chair of the Senate Committees on Environment and Climate Change, Sen. Loren noted that her priority will be the assessment of the state of implementation of the laws on environment, disaster risk reduction (DRR) and climate change adaptation (CCA) that she authored. Part of Senator Loren’s action plan for Climate Change adaptation for her last term is to promote green infrastructure by investing in the rehabilitation of the country’s wetlands and forests and the restoration of our coral reefs.

“The goal of sustainable development can only be reached when all stakeholders are attentive to issues pertaining to environmental degradation. SM’s Trash for Cash program is a laudable initiative as it brings the idea of recycling to the minds of the Filipino people. It is important that we all contribute in communicating that environmental initiatives geared towards preservation, like recycling, is necessary in ensuring disaster-resilient and sustainable development,” says Senator Loren.

During a visit to Kultura Filipino’s Makati store, Senator Loren was pleased to see creatively designed home items made of organic materials like abaca, buri, nito and bacbac. By using natural materials, the store helps encourage environmental awareness to consumers, while showcasing Filipino artistry geared towards a green environment.

“Our ancestors have crafted many useful and beautiful products out of indigenous materials. I am happy that Kultura sustains this tradition through their products made of abaca, buri, nito and bacbac. Kultura’s stores exhibit products that showcase our people’s craftsmanship and our nation’s rich heritage,” says Sen. Loren.

These skillfully crafted products can be found at the Kultura Filipino stores at SM Makati, SM Megamall, SM Mall of Asia, SM City Cebu, SM Lanang Premier, SM Aura Premier and at selected SM Stores.

Source: PhilStar