By Ellalyn De Vera-Ruiz
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) urged the Mindanao youth to protect the environment, starting with segregation of waste at source.
DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu rallied the youth and the people of Mindanao at the Mindanao launch of “Tayo ang Kalikasan,” a DENR-led citizens’ movement for environmental stewardship and sustainable development.
Speaking in General Santos City, near Sarangani Bay, Cimatu said that ordinary citizens can help protect the environment through simple means, like proper solid waste management.
“We can prevent more plastic from reaching the seas and mountains by segregating our waste properly, reducing usage of plastic, relying on reusable containers, and practicing recycling,” Cimatu said.
He emphasized that environmental protection is the duty of each and every Filipino, as part of his responsibility as steward of the country’s natural resources.
“This is our Sarangani Bay, our Mount Apo, our Siargao. These are our farmlands, forests, cities, communities, rivers, lakes, and seas,” Cimatu said.
“This is our Mindanao, our land of promise. No one else but us will care for our natural resources. We should take the lead in protecting and using our natural resources responsibly. Tayo ang kumilos para protektahan ito,” he added.
Cimatu recognized the efforts of DENR-SOCCSKARGEN in managing the natural resources of the Sarangani Bay Protected Seascape.
“It is good that the beaches here in Sarangani are still in good condition. I hope you will not let environmental degradation set in, like what happened in Boracay,” he said.
Tayo ang Kalikasan is the DENR’s advocacy and social mobilization task force aiming to spur Filipinos to do their part in environmental protection. It also aims to document the best practices of individuals, communities, local governments, and organizations on responsible land use, environmental protection, solid waste management, and ecotourism, among others.
During the launch, a number of local governments and organizations involved in these initiatives had set up exhibits showcasing their products—from organic tablea chocolate by a group of community-based forest management agreement holders, to artworks made of recycled plastic—as well as ecotourism services.