Bantay Kalikasan

Marikina Residents Participate in an Environmental Summit

Althea Cahayag
October 22, 2018

“As a resident of Marikina City, we should be responsible in taking care of the environment especially with the fact that we are always affected by floods brought by typhoons.”

This is what Winsy Joy Colocar, 19, a student of Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Marikina (PLMar) said when she joined the clean-up activity in Palay Creek, Brgy. Tumana, Marikina City. She recalled her experience during Typhoon Ondoy in 2006 when they evacuated to the third floor of H. Bautista Elementary School. She also said that with the recent Typhoon Ompong, they had to stay in their rooftop for the water already reached the second floor of their house.

During the clean-up, Winsy and her classmates were surprised by the wastes they discovered in the creek.

“We found clothes, underwear, shoes, sachets, and used napkins!” she said. “I did not expect to see these for they should be placed in proper bins and some can be recycled. For clothes, they can be used as rags instead.”

Winsy and classmates pick up a shoe during the clean-up. Bamboo tongs used by volunteers were provided by La Mesa Ecopark.

The clean-up activity was part of the first Earth Warrior Ecological Summit of Bantay Kalikasan, the environment arm of ABS-CBN Lingkod Kapamilya Foundation, Inc., held at Concepcion Integrated School in Marikina City.

One hundred students from PLMar joined the estero clean-up and bokashi ball making activities AS part of the summit. Bokashi balls, also known as mud balls or Mabuhay balls is a technology from Japan that uses effective micro – organisms to break down toxins. “Bokashi” is a term that means “fermented organic matter”. This activity is spearheaded by Earth Venture, Inc. in partnership with Bantay Kalikasan.

Mabuhay/Bokashi Balls have been proven to help clean waterways like the Estero de Santibañez in Paco, Manila, one of the successfully rehabilitated esteros of Bantay Kalikasan’s Kapit Bisig Para sa Ilog Pasig project.

The Summit also talked about environmental tips and policies and children’s rights where ALKFI-Bantay Bata 163, together with Johnson & Johnson Philippines and Mercury Drug Store, conducted free medical and dental mission, children’s activities, and parenting seminar to 900 individuals.

Marikina City’s City Environmental and Management Office (CEMO) discussed the city’s ordinances on waste management as the city is committed to effectively implement a Solid Waste Management Program. According to Gloria Buenaventura, the head of CEMO, one can be fined PHP500.00 because of littering and PHP2,000.00 for not following the proper waste segregation. Each barangay has a schedule for waste collection.

For instance, in Brgy. Tumana, their biodegradable wastes are collected every Monday and Thursday. Wednesdays are for non-biodegradable trash. Also, each bag should have a marking before they place it out. A green rope to seal the bags are used for biodegradable wastes while yellow is for the non-biodegradable ones.

Those who cannot pay the fine can opt to do a community service or donate blood. Blood donations are checked first before proceeding.

The city also practices the use of eco bags instead of plastic bags. Stores who will be caught using plastic bags can be fined from PHP500.00 to PHP5,000.00. During the event, Bantay Kalikasan tried to reduce their use of single-use plastic by asking the staff to bring their own water containers and utensils.

Jen Deomano Santos, Bantay Kalikasan’s Program Director said that plastic, especially single-use plastic, is a major environmental concern. “The plastic stays on earth for long years, some up to 1,000 years. With the increasing use of plastic and the lack of proper management of discarded or wasted plastic, they find their way into water tributaries and water systems, and eventually, pollute our natural resources.

“Among the many negative effects are: The poisoning of land and water resources, clogging waterways and causing flooding, and killing of marine life. Simple acts we can easily do when done collectively will make a difference. It also sends and teaches children and the next generation a more pro-environment lifestyle which in truth is a more sustainable lifestyle,” she enthused.

Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission (PRRC) discussed different estero rehabilitation projects. The Department of Environment and Natural Resources encouraged the youth to participate in planning and implementation of environmental policies and activities through its YES-O or Youth Environment on Schools Program.

Residents also learned how they can reduce food waste by composting during the discussion with Eco Waste Coalition, basic urban gardening with La Mesa Watershed, how to make bokashi balls and its benefits with Earth Venture, Inc., and how they can convert trash to cash by turning sachets into throw pillows with Seeds of Dreams and Seeds of Hope. Seeds of Dreams and Seeds of Hope are from Bantay Kalikasan’s assisted people’s organization in Lola Sayong Surf Camp, Gubat, Sorsogon.

Apart from the summit, Bantay Kalikasan has a current project in Marikina City in partnership with Sun Life Foundation, LGU, Arco Group, and PRRC. “The components of the project include the development of the 700 – meter linear park, Solid Waste Management program, livelihood opportunities, and community empowerment activities,” Santos pointed out.

Relief packs and hygiene kits distribution to Tumana residents affected by Typhoon Ompong

The first Earth Warrior Ecological Summit was also a synergy of ABS-CBN Lingkod Kapamilya Foundation’s programs and its partners. Aside from Bantay Bata 163’s child-care services, 300 families affected by Typhoon Ompong received relief packs from Operation Sagip the day before the event. Sun Life Foundation also provided hygiene kits to 300 families.

“We wanted to do this synergy of all ALKFI’s programs because it is also part of our desire to provide various services to the communities we support,” Santos explained.

Participants shouts out, “Every Filipino, an Earth Warrior” at the end of the summit

More than 1,000 Marikeños participated in the event. This includes Mass Communication students from PLMar and Senior High School students from CIS who joined the Citizen Journalism training spearheaded by ABS-CBN’s Bayan Mo iPatrol Mo.

“Because of the success of the Earth Warrior Ecogical Summit in Marikina, we definitely want to replicate and engage more people in advocacy and enriching activities like this,” Santos shared.