Empowering Communities through Earth Warrior Training
Bantay Kalikasan, the environment arm of ABS-CBN Lingkod Kapamilya, strongly believes that environment protection and conservation is not a responsibility of only a selected few,but of every Filipino. For this reason, Bantay Kalikasan thought of different ways to encourage more people to be the protectors of the environment.
Earth Warrior Training emerged from the idea of Gina Lopez, the founder of Bantay Kalikasan. It was previously called River Warrior Training as it is designed to train and involve communities in the restoration of the Pasig River through clean ups and esterorehabilitation.
It was in 2012, when Bantay Kalikasanimplemented trainingsthat empower the People’s Organizations (P.O.) from different sites it assists. It was then named the Earth Warrior Training.
Aside from teaching its volunteers how to protect the environment, Earth Warrior Training also empowers the P.Os through different activities. These activities help them to develop their teamwork and camaraderie, which they can practice in managing livelihood projects. The alternative livelihood is being given to the communities tohelp them stay away from different extractive activities, such as, slash-and-burn, illegal fishing, and irresponsible mining.To date, almost thousands are dubbed as Earth Warriors nationwide.
“Ang susi sa matagumpay na proyekto at pag-aalaga sa ating kalikasan ay ang pagtutulung-tulong ng bawat pamilya, ng mga kooperatiba at people’s organization, local government, at siyempre ng Bantay Kalikasan dahil naniniwala kaming; Every Filipino is an Earth Warrior,” Mikhail Dizon, project cluster of Bantay Kalikasan said.
Before the month of May ended, Bantay Kalikasan representatives endured the 19 hours of land and sea travel from Manila to Sibuyan Island, Romblon to hold another Earth Warrior training. It was indeed a fruitful event as 31 individuals from different people’s organizationswent home with smiles and pride as they were finally called Earth Warriors. They are also beneficiaries of various livelihood projects of Bantay Kalikasan.
Rachel Rollian, one of the participants, said that she would definitely share with her family and friends the values she gained from the training. “Ang kahalagahan po na natamo ko ngayon sa ginawa namin ay iyong pagkakaisa. Masayang-masaya akong nagkaroon ako ng pagkakataong maging Earth Warrior. Maibabahagi ko ito sa aking pamilya at kaibigan,”Rollian enthused.
Bantay-Kalikasan envisions that every Filipino in the Philippines and abroad can and should be an Earth Warrior.