Senator Loren Legarda today urged agencies of government to strengthen information, education and communication programs about the environment to bring all sectors and citizens together in protecting, restoring and enhancing environmental quality.
Legarda, co-author of the Environmental Awareness and Education Act, made the statement in celebration of National Environmental Awareness Month this November.
“We are all aware that it is our duty to protect the environment but we must be more proactive and creative in engaging citizens, especially the youth. We have to explain the benefits of protecting the environment and our responsibility to ensure that future generations would continue to benefit from it,” she said.
Legarda, who chairs the Senate Committees on Finance and Climate Change, said that the proposed 2018 national budget contains special provisions urging the Department of Education (DepEd) and state universities and colleges (SUCs) to incorporate environmental awareness subjects and programs in their curriculum and activities.
The DepEd and SUCs are mandated to include in their school curriculum the laws on the protection of the environment, climate change adaptation and mitigation, and disaster risk reduction.
All DepEd schools are required to establish a materials recovery facility (MRF) within their school premises in compliance with the Ecological Solid Waste Management Law and to promote environmental awareness and action.
Meanwhile, SUCs should promote the protection and enhancement of protected areas located within their campuses through sustainable management and ecotourism development. The SUCs, in coordination with the local government units (LGUs) and with assistance from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), should also include in their research program the mapping and inventory of the biodiversity of the province where the main campus of the SUC is located.
SUCs will also work with DENR for the establishment of nurseries including clonal nurseries, the conduct of forest research, and mangrove reforestation activities and other similar activities within the scope of the National Greening Program (NGP).
“Through these initiatives, we aim to restore and enhance the quality of our environment and we also hope to inculcate in our youth the real value of our rich biodiversity, that protecting the environment is our responsibility as stewards of the Earth, and that we must learn to co-exist with nature,” Legarda concluded.