Nagbabago na ang panahon. Panahon na para magbago!

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The campaign to soften apathy to climate change concerns is on!

It has become the ‘new normal.’ It is now so common. The words or phrases have become so common that there is this attitude of letting it be, let it pass, not much care, no worries, pathetic apathy or simply unaffected.

Climate change, the phrase, has become so common. Climate change, the phenomenon, and its effects, has become the ‘new normal.’ Some may have considered it ‘their cup of tea.’ That is for the unaffected. But we are. The people of the worlds and we, in the Philippines are. The Philippines has just a teeny weenie contribution to the other countries’ greenhouse gas emissions, but our country is vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.

The Philippines’being archipelagic and composed of small islands, is highly vulnerable to the. There’s rising temperature, changes in the rainfall pattern, increasing number of extreme climate events like super typhoons, flooding and drought. It is worsening. Something must be done!Combating the advance of climate change, mitigating its effects and helping people adapt to the changes, is now a must. “Apathy is now a thing of the past. We should have active cooperation and participation for own protection,” thus declared Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) during the formal launch of the Climate Change Advocacy Campaign at the Philippine Information Agency Auditorium along Visayas Avenue in Quezon City on July 18, 2014. The advocacy campaign aims to raise public awareness about two pressing environmental challenges facing the country today: climate change and the rehabilitation Manila Bay “Everyone is accountable for the phenomenon of climate change. All of us will be accountable and each of us can do something to help,” he said. Paje, with Presidential Communications Operations Secretary Herminio “Sonny” Coloma led the launching. The DENR-PIA climate change advocacy campaign also gained GMA Television Network’s support of the campaign. Paje and Coloma signed a Memorandum of Agreement with GMA TV Assistant Vice President for Corporate Affairs Ma Theresa L. Pacis. “The antidote to our environmental problems is a change in attitude. Nagbabago na ang panahon. Panahon na para magbago,” Paje said. 

 

 

 Going Regional

Going local, the DENR Region 4A CALABARZON and the Philippine Information Agency Region 4A gathered the regional and provincial information officers, provincial and municipal disaster risk reduction and management officers and local media in CALABARZON region in a in a series of forums and orientation on climate change advocacy in the succeeding months of August and September. Way ahead of the national launch, a ‘special media launch’ of the “DENR–PIA Climate Change Advocacy Campaign in CALABARZON” was held on June 30, 2014 in Lecheria, Calamba City. Leading media practitioners from television, radio broadcast, print and community newspapers attended the launch. DENR Region 4A CALABARZON Regional Technical Director for Protected Areas, Wildlife and Coastal Zone Management Service (PAWCZMS) Dr. Domingo R. Bravo appreciated the PIA’s supportive efforts in communicating the government’s programs and coining a brand where the people can recognize and associate with the advocacy. He likewise gave due recognition to the role of the media and journalism, the information officers and those in the forefront to disaster risk reduction and management in helping ‘educate’ the people, the public on matters greatly affecting their (people’s) lives with focus on the climate change adaptation and mitigation, and their ‘reach’ of the more vulnerable and far-flung communities within the region. He, however, suggested for them to strive some more, to be heard and appreciated by and understood by the people, their audience. “We are partners in this endeavor. We need more able partners,” Bravo said. Bravo headed a battery of officials from the DENR Region 4A CALABARZON--Legal Division’s Atty Fernando Belandres, Ecosystems Research and Development Services- Technology Transfer and Infromation Division’s Forester Oliver Viado, Forest Management Services’ Regional Technical Director Ferdinand Hermano, Office of the Regional Director’s Forester Anna Bella Posadas, Community Environment and Natural Resources Office-Los Baños’ chief Emiliano Leviste and PENRO-Laguna’s Forester Perfecto Talavera--during the Regional launch in Calamba City. Still ahead is the three-region ‘Southern Luzon Climate Change Advocacy Information Summit’ held from July 2-4, 2014 in Legazpi City. DENR Region 4A-Calabarzon, DENR Region 4B-Mimaropa and DENR Region 5-Bicol Region’s Regional Directors, PENR and CENR Officers and Regional Public Affairs Officers and the Philippine Information Agency’s regional directors and provincial information center managers joined the heads and representatives of the provincial local government units, and the capital towns’ and key cities’ information offices at the South Luzon summit. DENR Region 5 regional director Gilbert Gonzales, shared DENR Sec. Ramon J.P. Paje’s message in appreciation for PIA’s helping DENR ‘deliver the message’ and gaining the populace’s support in the department’s and the government’s programs. Gonzales, with DENR Region 4B-Mimaropa regional director Oscar Dominguez and DENR Region 4A-Calabarzon’s Reynulfo Juan enlightened Bicol based print and broadcast journalist on issues on the environment department programs on climate change as well as on protection, conservation, and sustainable development of natural resources.

PIA Director General Jose Mari Oquiñena and Deputy Director General for Southern Luzon Virgilio DC Galvez expounded on the role of the ‘communicators’ in the success of the advocacy campaign and the objective of ‘softening the apathy’ of the Filipino towards the ‘new normal climate change.’ Climate change experts, Dr. Cedric Daep, executive director of the Climate Change Academy-Center for Research on Climate Change Adaptation and Dr. Landrico Dalida, regional director of PAGASA R5 were adaptation measures and hazards associated with climate change. Galvez, facilitated the formation of the three regions’ interim Southern Luzon Communicator’s Network. Quezon’s provincial information officer Janet Buelo, was Calabarzon was chosen to head the convenors’ group of the communicator’s network.

 

Orientation Series.

The first of a series of forums and orientation sessions organized with the PIA Region 4A where it gathered the regional government agencies’ information officers or communicators was held on August 22 at the Doña Jovita Resort in Calamba City. Next were for provincial and municipal information officers, disaster risk reduction and management officers and local media practitioners in the five provinces of the CALABARZON region: on August 29, 2014 at Kartini Hotel, Centennial Road in Kawit for the province of Cavite, September 4 at Cloud 9 Resort in Antipolo City for Rizal; September 9 at Queen Margarette Downtown, Lucena City for Quezon; September 12 at Days Hotel in Batangas City for Batangas and on September 18, 2014 at Asia Blooms Hotel, in Sta. Cruz for Laguna. Rachael I. Seso from the Climate Change Commission served as resource person during the regional Information Officer’s orientation in Calamba City. She expounded on the definition of and salient information on climate change, and the adaptation and mitigation approaches. “Climate change refers to noticeable changes in the global climate attributed directly or indirectly to human activities,” stressed Seso. “Humans may have caused it, it is also they who will have to address it,” she explained. “These abrupt changes in climate could be blamed to increasing levels of ‘greenhouse gases,” she said. “These gases which include carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, sulfur hexafluoride, hydroflourocarbon and perflourocarbon trap heat from the sun, warming the earth. The increase in level of ‘greenhouse gases’ or GHGs over the years makes the world warmer, leading to climate change, to irreversible damages,” she continued. She explained the Commission’s answers, given the damages which are expected to occur due to climate change as “manage the unavoidable ― adapt; avoid the unmanageable ―mitigate.” Adaptation, she said, refers to ‘adjustments’ in ecological, social, or economic systems in response to actual or expected climate change effects or impacts; whereas mitigation refers to ‘measures that can reduce’ the atmospheric accumulation of GHGs thereby delaying the predicted impact of GHG on global climate. The next five in the series gathered the provincial and municipal information officers, disaster risk reduction and management officers, and media practitioners in the five provinces of the region.
Seso expounded on the local government’s role in helping people adapt to climate change during the Quezon leg on September 9. Her colleagues at the Climate Change Commission-- Information Officers Arnold Belver and Erwin Husmalaga-- alternated as resource persons. Belver who handled the Batangas and Cavite leg, explained that the projected (climate change) impacts include increase in temperature, sea level rise, increase in precipitation, and extreme weather events. Husmalaga who took charge of Rizal and Laguna, enumerated adaptation measures as: early warning systems, shifting to climate-resilient livelihood, engineering solutions, planting climate-resilient crops, local planning, and capacity building on disaster preparedness. He enumerated mitigation measures as: use of green building, clean energy investments, practicing ‘reduce, reuse, and recycle’, reforestation, efficient transport systems, well- planned cities, and energy conservation. The CCC lecturers capped their presentations with a quote from Charles Darwin, “It is not the strongest of the species that survives nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.”

 

National Greening Program and climate change

How does CALABARZON, through DENR, adapt to and mitigate the effects of climate change? Laguna PENR Officer Isidro L. Mercado, represented DENR Calabarzon regional director Reynulfo A. Juan, during the regional orientation, stressed “We have a priority program, the National Greening Program, and one of its objectives is climate change adaptation and mitigation.” 

“One cause of climate change is deforestation. We will help achieve the planting 1.5 billion trees in 1.5 million hectares of land which is the goal of National Greening Program,” Mercado stressed. “It is important that the public is informed,” added Mercado, as he appreciated the communicator’s attendance to the gathering. He continued, “We need to communicate early warning signs (during disasters). We need to strengthen IEC (information, education and communication) programs explaining the effects of climate change.” Cavite PENR officer Engr. Rolinio Pozas, Upper Marikina River Basin Protected Landscape (UMRBPL) community development officer Nida Mindaros representing Rizal PENRO Raymundo Crisostomo, PENRO Quezon information officer Niña Veloso, Forestry Management Section chief Vic Ombrajino and Environmental Management Bureau-Quezon focal person Gliceria S. Verzo, represented Quezon PENRO Alfredo Palencia; Protected Areas, Wildlife and Coastal Zone Management Service-Batangas chief Mildred L. Cepillo represented Batangas PENRO Jose Elmer Bascos and Executive Assistant Anatolia Nacion, represented Laguna PENRO Mercado, presented the respective PENRO’s measures on ‘how the region adapts and mitigates effects of climate change.’ In Cavite, PENRO Pozas announced their target of 1 million mangrove trees to be planted in Noveleta, Kawit, and Cavite City by 2015, “We will seek recognition by the Guinness World Records as the largest number of mangroves planted.” Rizal’s Mindaros reported on efforts to rehabilitate denuded areas, establishment of check dams, slope stabilization, and protection efforts within the Marikina Watershed, to prevent the repeat of flooding of the lowland areas including Metro Manila. Quezon’s Veloso discussed the efforts to plant trees in 43,128 hectares of land under the NGP by 2015. She said 115 nurseries were established in several barangays under the Barangay Forest Program as of 2013 and which are to support the Laguna’s Nacion reported that they have planted more than 1.4 million seedlings in 2,559 hectares in 2013 and 2014 and succeeded in getting 85% survival of the seedlings planted.

 

Advocacy Campaign explained

PIA Region 4A OIC Carlo P. Gonzaga presented the Climate Change Advocacy campaign as “an intensified strategy to inform the public on adaptation and mitigation measures and to eventually elicit cooperation from them.’ Gonzaga, enumerated the campaign’s implementation strategy, “Engage the youth and youth organizations, brand visibility, make environmental efforts appear ‘cool’, intensify participation, strengthen partnerships with groups and ensure alignment of environmental agenda”. He also presented ‘LaKAsliKASAN Award’, as a strategic activity. This is to encourage more organizations to show compliance to environmental policies and activities, he said. “Addressing the communicators, LGU representatives, and colleagues fromt the DENR and PIA, “We hope that through your help, this advocacy campaign will succeed,” he said. It is everybody’s concern, indeed. Nagbabago na ang panahon. Panahon na para magbago! Kailangan, Kasama ako. Kasama ka!