Story and photos by Henry Empeño / Correspondent
SUBIC BAY FREEPORT—A two-day environment summit was held here this past week to conclude the International Coastal Cleanup (ICC) campaign in Zambales and consolidate community efforts in protecting the marine environment in the province.
Zed Avecilla, ICC Zambales area coordinator, said activities for the summit was scheduled for September 28 and 29 simultaneously at the Ayala Malls Harbor Point Mall and the International School of Sustainable Tourism in the Subic Bay Freeport Zone.
“The ICCPH Environmental Summit is all about lifting the levels of awareness and inspiring more people to come together and build a legacy of a healthy planet for future generations,” said Avecilla, who is also deputy chief of staff for marine environmental protection of the 111th Squadron of the Philippine Coast Guard Auxiliary.
“Although many people helped clean our beaches last week, there is still a lot of work to be done and beach cleanup is not enough,” he said. “We need to strengthen our connection with our environment and realize it is under threat due to indiscriminate human activities and behavior, and an inadequate understanding of its consequences.”
Avecilla explained the environment summit would be part of the Maritime and Archipelagic Nation Awareness Month celebration, which aims to enhance the awareness and consciousness of Filipinos on the important features and concerns of the Philippines as a maritime and archipelagic domain.
President Duterte signed Presidential Proclamation 316, which declared September as Maritime and Archipelagic Nation Awareness Month, the day before ICC Day. Avecilla said the speakers during the summit included several young and passionate environmental social entrepreneurs, and experts on waste management and leadership.
The two-day event also featured the screening of two award-winning independent films, Nick and Chai and High Tide in partnership with Active Vista, a human-rights education group that seeks to empower audiences in bringing about relevant social change. Both films tackle contemporary environmental issues.
The environmental summit was organized by the Subic Bay Freeport Chamber of Commerce in partnership with the Philippine Coast Guard Auxiliary 111th Squadron, Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority, The Lighthouse Marina Resort Legacy Foundation, National Solid Waste Management Council of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, and the National Coast Watch Council Secretariat.
Avecilla said the event partners wanted to make the call for everybody to take action to conserve the Earth and be responsible citizens of the land.
In September 16 thousands of volunteers in Zambales took part in the global coastal cleanup in response to the call to help protect the marine environment.
Partial results from municipal ICC coordinators in Zambales indicated at least 71,000 participants from eight of the 13 municipalities in the province, with the capital town of Iba registering the biggest delegation at 20,700.
Avecilla said coordinators from five more towns have yet to submit their lists.
The ICC Day is held every third Saturday of September, as declared by Presidential Proclamation 470 signed in 2003 to enjoin Filipinos to observe the global coastal cleanup celebration.
- Business Mirror
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