Mahalin ang ating Kultura: Sen. Loren Legarda and Kultura go green

July 7, 2013

MANILA, Philippines – As a child who grew up in flood-prone Malabon, Senator Loren Legarda was exposed early to the importance of taking care of the environment. “Our compound in Malabon has many fruit-bearing trees,” she says, “and these were not only fun to climb, but also made it possible for us to go out and 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.”

Today, our compound “could be the last remaining patch of green in Malabon,” Legarda says wistfully. But it was these personal experiences that started the senator’s passion for “saving the environment and promoting the need for sustainable development.”

Now in her third term, re-elected Senator Loren Legarda will focus on legislative measures and programs that will improve the lives of Filipinos. 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 legislations. In the senatorial elections last May, she was the top choice among re-electionist senators with 18.66 million votes.

As the chair of the Senate Committee on Climate Change, environmental matters are foremost in her agenda. “I make sure that climate change is addressed as a national priority and considered in policy making and development planning,” says Legarda.

Hailed as a “Green Crusader” because of her staunch advocacy on environmental issues, particularly those pertaining to forest and marine resources, Legarda’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 of 2010 (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.

In October 1998, Legarda launched Luntiang Pilipinas (Green Philippines), which was institutionalized and operationalized as a complementing initiative on nationwide urban forestry. This greening program, which aims to raise the level of consciousness of Filipinos about the value of trees, has already planted two million trees in more than 500 hectares across the Philippines and has created forest parks in various public schools in the country through the program, Best School Forest Park.

Also known as a game-changer for Asia, amid the increasing risks of a warming world and a changing climate, Legarda shares her vision of a safer and greener world for all. She advocates for quality human living harmonious 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. Part of her advocacy is an information, education and communication campaign, which she has been doing through regional workshops on disaster risk reduction for local government units and climate change lectures in state universities and colleges.

Legarda’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 for her outstanding work as founding chair of the Save Our Seas (SOS) and Trees for Life Foundations. In 2001, the United Nations Environmental Programme conferred on her the title of UNEP Laureate and included her in the Global 500 Roll of Honor. In 2008, she was appointed as the UN Champion for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation for Asia-Pacific. She was recently hailed as the University of the Philippines’ 2013 Distinguished Alumna for Environmental Protection and Climate Change Adaptation.

“Awareness is key to ensure that the environment is protected. The goal of sustainable development can only be reached when all stakeholders are attentive to issues pertaining to environmental degradation,” she says. “SM’s Trash for Cash program for recycling 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 a disaster-resilient and sustainable development.”

Legarda was also happy to discover how recycled materials like driftwood can be transformed into beautiful items during a recent visit to Kultura Filipino. The store’s recycled driftwood collection merges Filipino artistry with environmental consciousness in a most amazing way.

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: The Philippine Star