Tag Archives: Environment

16 tons of waste produced at Duterte’s thanksgiving party

[Photo by Pearl Gajunera, 105.9 Balita FM]

DAVAO CITY – The City Environment and Natural Resources (CENRO) has collected about 16 tons of waste from the One Love, One Nation Thanksgiving Celebration of the President-elect Rodrigo Duterte at Crocodile Park, Davao City last June 4.

CENRO chief Eliza Madrazo said the ten tons of the wastes came from the 80 trash bins distributed in the area during the event while the remaining six tons are litter.

Aside from that, there were individuals who picked up their own trash.

“We started cleaning and emptying the trash bins since Sunday (June 5) morning until yesterday (June 7) afternoon and we have collected a total of 16 tons including those on the ground,” said Madrazo.

The trash is composed mainly of plastics such as mineral water bottles, cellophane, and plastic wrappers among others.

The trash, according to Madrazo, was brought to the Davao City Sanitary Landfill in Baranggay New Carmen in Tugbok District.

Madrazo said that the public should be more responsible with their garbage in the future huge events.

“We wish that we leave the event with no litter, maybe not now but hopefully next time,” she said.

“We should discipline ourselves that what garbage we brought into the venue, we should also bring it as we leave the venue or throw them in the bins,” she added.

Madrazo said the public should learn to manage and minimize the production of waste to sustain the cleanliness of the city, aside from the fact that Davao City is considered a model city since it is the hometown of President-elect Rodrigo Duterte.

| Published in 105.9 Balita FM’s Facebook page: 16 tons of waste produced at Duterte’s thanksgiving party, June 8, 2016

#cenro, #city-environment-and-natural-resources, #davao-city, #environment, #one-love-one-nation, #rodrigo-duterte, #thanksgiving-party

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Davaoenos dive into A Glass of the Sea

The premier science museum in the Philippines brought an extraordinary underwater experience to Davaoenos!

The Mind Museum, the 1st world-class science museum in the country mounted a weeklong traveling exhibit dubbed as “A Glass of the Sea (AGoS)” last April 30 to May 4 at the Abreeza Activity Center. The exhibit specifically featured Verde Island Passage Marine Corridor, a part of the Coral Triangle that extends between the provinces of Batangas, Oriental and Occidental Mindoro, Marinduque and Romblon in the Philippines.

The Verde Island Passage (VIP) is considered by the scientists as the “center of the center of marine biodiversity” for its extremely abundant marine biodiversity. This means that no other area in the world has more species of marine life than the Philippines. A group of explorers from the California Academy of Sciences (CAS) has an estimate of at least 30,000 to 40,000 marine species, not limited to fishes but also to corals, nudibranchs (sea slugs), sea turtles, and many others. And they have not ceased to study the marine area up to the present.

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The name “A Glass of the Sea” is derived from the idea that the richness of marine species in an area can be determined by just sampling a glass of sea water. It is done by scientists through DNA analysis. The exhibit served a glass of sea water, giving the public a glimpse of the bounty of the VIP.

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Panoramic view of the A Glass of the Sea exhibit area

Curious mall goers were allured to discover the depths of the VIP guided by three main stops around the exhibit. The first stop or the “Story of the Sea” showcased the actual footage of the underwater expedition of the members of CAS and a sneak peek of some of the species they unearthed.

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Photo by Mercy Mae Maglacion
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Photo by Mercy Mae Maglacion

However, a closer look of these fascinating sea creatures can be viewed in the interactive creature library which was presented in the next stop or the “Story of the Science of the Sea”. By just placing a wooden plank on top of a wooden lectern-like structure, a creature, most of them were freshly discovered animals, flashes on the plasma television. Some of these creatures can be described as both awesome and odd like a Comatulid which looked like an alive rooster feathers assembled in a fixed center, a cuttlefish with a dazzling body because of its dynamic spectral-colored skin, a coral which seems to be a centipede in upright position or an adorable sea slug, all of them lived in VIP harmoniously despite their differences.

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Finally, amused guests were then ushered to “The Story of Your Role in the Sea”, an area in the exhibit where an installation art made out of trash creating a silhouette of towering skyscrapers, a dead sea turtle or pawikan and a hand holding a globe. This area is intended to tug a string of the guests’ consciousness on our responsibilities in protecting and preserving our marine biodiversity as our relationship with the sea and its dwellers is interconnected. The Philippines ranked third among the countries that produce waste, especially plastics that end up in the ocean.  A student visitor quipped, “We are not the only one breathing in this planet.”

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As visitors who swarmed the exhibit are a mixture of kids and kids-at-heart adults, an interactive computer games which allow you to pledge at the end of the game, a fun trivia quiz show to test one’s knowledge about the sea and a haven for children to create their own fish and nudibranch, color it, give it a name and special abilities,  are at bay.

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“The objective of the traveling exhibition is to draw the people and make them appreciate the astounding beauty of marine life and realize the importance of conserving the biodiversity in the Coral Triangle where the Philippines is a part of,” said Asia Urquico Aportadera, AGoS Education Officer.

Aportadera said it also intends to arouse the curiosity and interest of the people especially the kids to study more about the science of the sea.

“We also wanted public and the children to be inspired in learning more about the marine ecosystem and for the youth to be concerned about keeping the beauty of our marine biodiversity,” she said.

She added that we still have a lot to discover in our seas as researchers have revealed that we have explored about 0.05% of the totality of our ocean, just a size of a dot.

The exhibit has gone from Cebu City, recently in Davao City and now heading to Cagayan De Oro City on May 11 to 15.

The exhibit is conceived by The Mind Museum, a project of the Bonifacio Art Foundation, Inc., a non-profit organization whose thrust is to provide an extraordinary educational experience that inspires the public understanding of science.

| This article is also published in 105.9 Balita FM’s Facebook Page

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To know more about The Mind Museum, click the logo below:

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Or watch their video:

Bobbi Petalurca | May 5, 2016

Presidential bets urged to include ecological agriculture, food security in agenda

Youth around the country simultaneously danced in front of the presidentiable’s headquarters yesterday, urging the candidates to include ecological agriculture, food security, and the issues on climate change in their political agenda.

The headquarters of Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte in Davao City, Vice President Jejomar Binay in Manila, Senator Grace Poe-Llamanzares in Baguio City, Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago in Bacolod City and Secretary Mar Roxas in Cebu City flocked by the youth, led by #IAmHampaslupa campaigners, who did a flash mob.

Aside from the dance, the youth organization also handed a call to action statements to the candidates which recounted the plight of the more than thousand El-Nino-stricken farmers in Kidapawan City and Koronadal City who became victims of violence due to agricultural crisis.

“Our current agriculture system is not capable of providing any acceptable and just solutions to this very real problem. The lack of timely and appropriate actions that could have prepared our farmers from the impacts of climate change is very evident in the past administrations,” the IamHampaslupa groups said in a statement.

John Paul Abelgas, an IamHampaslupa member, said the group dance was their last resort to channel their message as it was not given the chance of the limelight during the presidential debates.

“We have expressed these statements to the candidates before and hoped that they will include it in the first presidential debate which was held at Cagayan de Oro but it was still not discussed up until the last debate,” said Abelgas.

“The next administration of this country must lead the immediate transition to ecological agriculture, a farming system that puts back farming into the hands of small farmers, allowing safe and sustainable food production,” the statement added.

| Published in 105.9 Balita FM Facebook page: Presidential bets urged to include ecological agriculture, food security in agenda, April 28, 2016

When there are no longer birds to watch

It is only when you are closer that you will be able to appreciate things.

But it sounds easier said than done when you do it to birds.

I was fortunate enough to participate in a seminar related to communicating biodiversity. The seminar gave me the chance to birdwatch, or simply, marvel at the magnificence of the diversity of birds through binoculars.

At around 6:30 in the morning, I and my colleagues arrived at the Philippine Eagle Center, the sanctuary of the national symbol, the Philippine Eagle (Pithecophaga jefferyi) for a guided birdwatching to set the mood for our seminar.

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Photo from ASEAN Center for Biodiversity Facebook page

I was wrong when I thought of birdwatching as a tour to their caged birds, mostly belongs to the family of raptors such as the Brahminy Kites and White-bellied Sea Eagles. I undermined the whole birdwatching idea.  It was harder than I thought.

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http://www.birdwatch.ph: Brahminy Kite
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http://www.birdwatch.ph: White-bellied Sea Eagle

We were asked to grab binoculars and bird guides with a stressful instruction: If you spot a bird, describe what it looked like and check it on your 1-inch thick, glossy-printed bird books. Stressful because it is my first time to do it and perhaps, just like anybody else, I see all birds the same.  I think just seeing them is enough, I told myself.

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And so the birdwatching kits: a bird book and binoculars

After a while, we started to search the forest. We were looking up most of the time. Our guide Ej was skillful enough to understand the chirps and pointing us where it came from and what kind of birds are singing it-something that I also wanted to learn. Nightingales have amusing bird calling patterns. Melodic. Enchanting.

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Photo credits: Kane Rosa

I was so desperate to find a bird. They were elusive, playful or blending in the canopies. How I wish I had that powerful vision eagles have. These raptors can see eight times farther than that of the humans. So I would not need binoculars. By the end of the activity, I was lucky to have found around five of them, usually rufous nightingales, Olive-backed sunbirds and fantails.

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Birdwatch.ph: Olive-backed sunbird
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Trinket Constatino: Pied Fantail

I was elated by their forms, colors, sounds and of course, their freedom. Their freedom to glide and flap their wings tree to another, perch on the branches, sing and call calms every tired sense.  And it became possible because the trees provided them abode. They are far from threats of being killed in whatever way humans are capable of. They contributed to the protection and thriving of nature to the greatest extent they can do.

Not until we passed by Fighter.

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Fighter finally showing his injured wings.

The 3-year old eagle sat in his area, trying to hide his injured wings. He was gunshot in the mountains of Don Salvador, Mati, Davao Oriental that caused the amputation the main feather part of his left wing.

With the help of a staff at the Philippine Eagle Foundation (PEF), we were able to take a groufie with him.

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Photo grabbed from John Frances Fuentes’ Facebook page

Fighter was not alone in the fight. Several other eagles were shot, most of them killed. The Philippine Eagles, being the largest and most powerful raptor in the world, the kind of bird only found in our country are also one of the most vulnerable to extinction. They are now critically endangered.

According to PEF, their existence is in danger because of two wrong practices: shooting and trapping, and deforestation. On February 24 this year, a national paper reported that an eagle named “Matatag” was shot by brothers in Baranggay Tambobong, Baguio District in Davao City.

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A veterinarian administers medicine on ‘Matatag.’ Photo from Philippine Eagle Foundation

According to Leonardo Pamplona, station commander of Baguio Police Station, the brothers Tiburcio, 24 and Rolando Aparesio, 18 mistook that the eagle was preying for their farm chickens so the older brother shot it with a caliber .22 rifle and hit eagle’s wings. The brothers, however voluntarily surrendered after bringing the wounded eagle to the PEF. Matatag was released by the PEF sometime in January last year. Read: Brothers surrender after shooting ‘Matatag’

On January 25, 2016, a one-year-old hawk-eagle died after being gunshot hitting the left lower breast. The bird was found at Quintuinan Hills of Camalig town in Albay. Read: Rare PH hawk-eagle shot dead in Albay

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Personnel of the Albay Park and Wildlife show the dead Philippine Hawk Eagle. The protected bird died due to gunshot wound at the lower left chest. Authorities said investigation still ongoing to locate the origin of the endangered eagle and identify the gunman.   Photo: Nino Luces, Manila Bulletin

And on August 16, 2015, “Pamana” was killed after being shot in her right breast shattering her left shoulder. Her dead body was seen near the creek in Mount Hamiguitan Range in Davao Oriental, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Site and recently enlisted as one of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Heritage Parks. Pamana was released by the PEF into the wild during the Independence Day. Read: Philippine Eagle Pamana found shot dead in Davao Oriental

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Pamana’s dead body. Photo by Rappler.com

The destruction the Philippine Eagles’ natural habitat also posed a threat to their existence. These wild raptors dwell in the rainforest and nests on large, old dipterocarp trees in lowland forests. Mountains and rainforests were gradually losing their potential to become home to the birds due to deforestation.

Benjamin Gregory Cruz, Biodiversity and Watersheds Improved for Stronger Economy and Ecosystem Resilience (B+WISER) Program Field Manager for Mt. Apo Region said one of the manners of deforestation is by debarking trees. People kill trees by gradually scraping its barks. They make the death of the tree an excuse to cut it down.

The recent forest fire incident at the peak of Mt. Apo last March 26, 2016 also jeopardized national bird’s habitat. The fire lasted for about three weeks and destroyed an estimated 1,000 hectares.

Adding to the list of causes of their endangerment are hunting for food and trade, collections, and pollution. Source: Bagheera

BUT WHY BOTHER?

We should save, protect, and conserve the Philippine Eagle because “it is an important natural and cultural heritage. It is a powerful symbol by which our people can rally around for the conservation of our natural resources. They also reign over the forest ecosystem, providing an umbrella of protection for all other species sharing its rainforest home. Their presence in the forests is an indicator of a healthy ecosystem”. (Philippine Eagle Foundation).

Put it in context, if the forest is healthy, our water sources such as our watersheds are sustainable. The PEF added that “a healthy forest helps control soil erosion, mitigate the effects of climate change, minimize flooding, and provides additional sources of food, medicine, clothing, and shelter for our people.”

They are endemic to the Philippines, one of the world’s rarest and has an alarming number of 400 pairs left in the country.

Another contributing factor in their dwindling population is their slow reproduction. They only lay one egg every two years. Parent eagles wait for their offspring to make it on their own (usually within two years) before producing another.

HOW CAN WE HELP?

We are no experts in handling, monitoring, and other technical stuff in protecting and preserving our national pride. But this should not be the reason not to do it. We have a lot in our hands than we thought. Here are some actions I can suggest we can do as ordinary citizens:

Initiate or Participate in Tree Planting Activities. You build a house when you don’t have one. And since our birds have been losing their homes, we should help in rebuilding it. Reforestation is the basic counter to deforestation. Plus, it benefits the ecosystem and supports biodiversity as a whole.

Volunteer in education campaigns and advocacies. “There is always strength in numbers,” says Mark Shields. Encourage more people to join the cause. Tug their heartstrings by educating them about the Philippine Eagles and what they can do to help protect and preserve them.

Report. Whenever you encounter incidents of cruelty to the Philippine Eagles in your community or you found a suspected eagle in your area, please don’t have second thoughts. Report them to your local Department of Environment and Natural Resources Office (DENR) or City Environment and Natural Resources (CENRO). You can also tap private environment organizations such as the Philippine Eagle Foundation.

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You can report through email via the Philippine Eagle Foundation’s website.

Donate. The programs and initiatives for the protection and conservation of the Philippine Eagles also need financial help. So if you might as well drop quite handful of pennies. It is one way to invest in our future and the future of the next generation.

Birds in general, are agents of dispersal, helping in the spreading of seeds and plant. They control pests and insects, saving crops and other plants from devastation. Source: Iowa Nature Mapping

Thus, aside from possessing an innate charm, they are an aid in keeping the balance in the world we live in.

As I watched and waited for other birds to flaunt their majestic forms, I alternately bend my neck to ease the pain. I wondered, what if there are no longer birds to look up to, perhaps, the pain would be much agonizing because of a destroyed environment.

That is when there are no more birds to watch.

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Thanks to the Philippine Eagle Foundation, ASEAN Center for Biodiversity, ASEAN, and Youth Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) most especially to Ms. Karen Lapitan for the opportunity.

In case you wanted to join in the cause of the Philippine Eagle Foundation such as to Donate, Adopt or Volunteer, check out their website by clicking their logo.

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Bobbi Petalurca | April 26, 2016

 

DA defends ‘substandard’ bananas

The Department of Agriculture justified why China considered the 34.78 metric tons of bananas they discarded “substandard”.

DA Assistant Secretary for Planning and Project Development Paz Benavide said if only China used the same standards in measuring allowable pesticide level in food as the Philippines’ other exporting countries, the bananas could have passed the test.

On Friday (March 25), China, the leading export destination of the Philippines have destroyed an equivalent of 33,000 dollars of “substandard” bananas.

According to the Chinese Central Television, the amount of carbendazim in these bananas have “exceeded the China’s standard limits for pesticide residue in food.”

Carbendazim is a type of fungicide to control plant diseases in cereals and fruits, including citrus, bananas, strawberries, pineapples among others.

“What happened was, the China’s limit for carbendazim residue is 0.1 and the bananas sent there contains 0.19. So there is a 0.09 excess in the carbendazim content. In the international food standard we used with other export countries, the Codex Alimentarius (Food Code), pasado yung bananas. But China has a different standard in measuring the maximum residue limit (MRL),” Benavide explained.

She said the incident was not preempted because China does not require the issuance of the certificate that presents the chemical residue of the goods or the certificate of analysis.

They only require a phytosanitary certificate to show the absence of pests and bugs.

“We do not issue certificate of analysis because it is not required by China, unlike sa Japan and Korea where there is a bilateral agreement that there should be a certificate of analysis before they can export,” said Benavide.

“But it does not mean the exporting companies will not comply to the standards,” she added.

| Published in 105.9 Balita FM Facebook page: DA defends ‘substandard’ bananas, April 1, 2016

Green initiatives in Davao commended anew

DAVAO CITY – A new set of environmental initiatives and practices were recognized in the 4th Lunhaw Awards, Thursday.

Under the Organic Agriculture category, victors were the Green Bounty Agri Produce in Eden, Toril and Josefina Ba Farm’s in Gumalang, Baguio District for growing of crops through organic concoction while the Abreeza Ayala Mall’s “Active and Passive Design” was awarded under the Green Building/Urban Greening category.

Meanwhile, the My Hotel in San Pedro for its rainwater-catching technology and the Radyo Tacunan’s Community Audio Towers in Baranggay Tacunan for its Radyo Organik program were recognized under the categories Water Conservation and Education and Advocacy respectively.

Also received special awards were Pangumahoy or the watershed protection through agro-forestry farming by Randy Legaspi of the Rainfo and Agro-Forestry, the Cleanergy Park of the Davao Light and Power Company (DLPC), the riverbanks rehabilitation project of Baranggay Matina Pangi and the riverbanks preservation in Baranggay Maa.

The winners were chosen from the 18 shortlisted entries out of the 23 submitted entries.

“We wanted to promote green initiatives that are worth replicating even in the household level to the Davaoenos and around the country. The goal of the Lunhaw Awards is to contribute in making our city a truly green and sustainable Davao City,” said Mary Ann Fuertes, Interface Development Interventions, Inc. (IDIS) Executive Director.

Fuertes said the initiatives will be a big help in mitigating climate change.

The Lunhaw Awards have already received about 114 environmental-friendly initiatives and practices from different groups and individuals since its beginning in 2012.

The annual Lunhaw Award is also co-organized by the Davao Association of Colleges and Schools (DACS), the Davao City Water District (DCWD), the City Agriculturist’s Office (CAO), the City Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) and the IDIS.

| Published in 105.9 Balita FM Facebook page: Green initiatives in Davao commended anew, March 18, 2016

Late councilor inspires envi group

Other than mourning, the environment group Interface Development Intervention, Inc. (IDIS) said they were inspired by the kind of environmentalist Councilor Leonardo Avila III epitomized.

IDIS Executive Director Mary Ann Fuertes said late councilor Avila set a good example to them as advocates for the environment.

“Nainspire kami sa mga ginawa niya and dahil noon dala-dala namin yun. Nainspire kami na mas lalo pang pagbutihan ang trabaho namin sa pagprotect ng environment at magkaroon tayo ng greener Davao City. (Pinapanatili) ang Davao City maging truly sustainable and green city,” said Fuertes.

(We were inspired by the things that he did and we remember it until now. We were inspired to do our job in protecting our environment well and to have a greener Davao City. We strive to keep Davao City truly sustainable and green city.)

“In honor to him, we will do our best,” she added.

Councilor Leonardo “Happy L.A.” Avila III who just passed away Sunday because of stroke, served the people of Davao as the chair of the committee on environment.

“Si Sir Leo ay talagang partner namin from the start ng banner ordinance na ginawa kasama ang IDIS yung Ban Aerial Spraying Ordinance. Grabe ang kampanya nuon. Grabe ang struggle sa city council pero hindi tayo iniwanan ni Sir Leo. Grabe din yung commitment niya,” said Fuertes.

(Sir Leo has become our partner from the start of the banner ordinance he did with IDIS, the Ban Aerial Spraying Ordinance. We had an intensive campaign. We struggled in the City Council but Sir Leo never left us. His commitment was enormous.)

The councilor had crafted and co-sponsored green ordinances such as the Anti-Smoke Belching Ordinance (2006), Ban Aerial Spraying Ordinance (2009), Watershed Code (2007), Establishment of Marine Protected Areas (2007), Fisheries Code (2008), Rainwater Ordinance (2009), Ecological Solid Waste Management Ordinance (2010), Septage and Sewerage Management Ordinance (2010), Organic Agriculture Ordinance (2010) and Bicycle Ordinance (2010).

Fuertes said their group, along with Avila, are on the process of creating the environment code but also admitted that they might have a difficulty of turning it over to the next person.

“Maipagpatuloy pa rin namin yung ordinances niya kasi yung last time, naka 11 meetings and technical working group writeshop na rin yung environment code. Kasi ang dami na ngang green ordinances pero dapat siya macompile into one, yung environment code talaga” she said.

(We can still continue his ordinances because we had meetings for 11 times and we had technical working group writeshop for the crafting of the environment code. There are a lot of green ordinances but we have to compile them into a code.)

“We will try our best to pass it in his honor,” she added.

Councilor Avila died at the age of 58.

| Published in 105.9 Balita FM Facebook page: Late councilor inspires envi group, December 21, 2015