Bantay Kalikasan

Breaking Free From Plastics and Empowering Youth on the 1st World Bike Day

Althea Cahayag
June 14, 2018

On the 72nd General Assembly of the United Nations, June 3 was officially declared as the World Bicycle Day. ABS-CBN Lingkod Kapamilya Foundation, Inc.’s Bantay Kalikasan, together with its partners, celebrated organized the “PadyaKantahan para sa Kalikasan: A Celebration of Clean, Healthy, and Sustainable Environment”.

PadyaKantahan bikers pass through Quezon Bridge in Manila

A 15-kilometer bike ride where more than 200 bikers joined was held from the remaining forest in Manila, the Arroceros Park, to Paco Market. Upon registration, the bikers donated used PET bottles which were turned over to ABS-CBN’s Bayan Mo Ipatrol Mo to be sold. Proceeds of this event will be given to a charitable organization, Tahanang Walang Hagdanan.

In total, 560 bikers nationwide participated on the event. These bikers came from provinces like Cebu and Iloilo.

Breaking free from plastic is a movement started by Greenpeace which calls for the reduction of single-use plastic. Angelica Pago, Campaigner of Greenpeace, said that our plastic pollution already reached crisis proportions. “According to a study, one truck load of wastes enters the ocean every minute. Not for a month, or for a day, but for a minute and it’s very, very alarming.”

Jen Santos, the Program Director of ALKFI-Bantay Kalikasan shared that BK promotes a plastic-free environment, especially in communities living near the tributaries of the Pasig River. Through its Kapit Bisig Para sa Ilog Pasig project, the river rehabilitation arm of Bantay Kalikasan, they have seen that the problem has always been the plastics that do not decompose right away.

“Bantay Kalikasan wants to see plastic-free esteros. We also want to reduce the generation and the use of plastics especially the single-use ones,” Santos shared.

Aside from promoting reducing plastic use and the bicycle for clean air and sustainable communities, Jack Yabut, the President of Firefly Brigade, said they also hope that bicycles will be recognized as a mode of transportation.

“Naniniwala kami na kaya rin kailangan i-promote yung bisikleta, dahil ang tulong niya para sa kalikasan ay maging bahagi siya ng transportation system -- maging isang lehitimo at epektibo na parte ng tinatawag na sustainable transportation. (Nagbabike kami) Para makita (ng iba) na ang pagbibisikleta ay isang praktical, isang malinis, tahimik, at malaki ang matitipid mo na pamamaraan ng transportasyon gamit ito,” he explained. (We believe that we need to promote bicycles to be a part of the transportation system for it helps the environment. It needs to be recognized as a legitimate and effective part of the sustainable transportation. We bike so others can see that biking is a practical, clean, quiet, and cost-saving way of transportation.)

The PadyaKantahan is part of Bantay Kalikasan’s 20th anniversary celebration. After the bike run, a recital was held in Paco Market with KBPIP’s Kid Ambassador, Jose Faber Cabrera, Kawayan 7, and the Paco Kids Youth Ensemble who played different musical instruments to the guests. It was also an avenue for BK to thank all of its donors who helped rehabilitate Paco Market and Estero de Paco.


Kawayan 7, Faber Cabrera, and Paco Kids and Youth Ensemble performing


Unveiling of ceremonial donor wall of BK-KBPIP with its donors and partners

In addition, Bantay Kalikasan believes in the role of youth in preserving the environment.

“The youth plays an important part of our advocacies. They are the next generation so we invest on them,” Santos said. “We implement environmental, music and art workshops to these kids to educate them about our programs so they will be the next Earth Warriors or those who will help in protecting the environment,” she added.

Paco Market was the biggest contributor of wastes of Estero de Paco. In 2009, Kapit Bisig Para sa Ilog Pasig rehabilitated the market along with the estero as its pilot estero rehabilitation project. In June 30, 2017, the rehabilitated market and its operations was turned over to the City Government of Manila.

Bantay Kalikasan greatly believes in collaboration and working together with its partners. “As in nature, we are all connected. We can’t survive if we only think of ourselves. Being part of a community means you take the responsibility not just for yourself but for others as well,” Santos exclaimed.

Bantay Kalikasan would like to thank the following donors and partners for making the PadyaKantahan para sa Kalikasan event possible: Rustan Commercial Corporation, Maja Olivares-Co, Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission, Firefly Brigade, Greenpeace, Local Inter-agency Committee, City of Manila, Bayan Mo Ipatrol Mo, Goldilocks Foundation, Inc., and Kawayan 7.