100 Nations Observe Earth Day Festivities
Presidential daughter Luli Macapagal Arroyo yesterday led the signing of the Earth Day Youth Covenant as the Philippines joined the international community of more than 100 countries in celebrating Earth Day/Week on April 20-29.
Arroyo delivered the Earth Day Message of her mother, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, during the special candle lighting ceremony and the awarding of the Fr. Neri Satur Awards for Environmental Heroism of the event celebrated with a different twist tapping the youth in calling for "clean water, clean air and clean elections."
Organizers led by EarthSavers Movement founding chairman Heherson Alvarez, Tourism Secretary Robert Pagdanganan and National Artist Dr. Alejandro Roces of the UNESCO-ITI Center, said this years Earth Day/Week focused on the youth "to effect social, cultural, environmental and political change."
"Amidst the growing need for environmental action and as movements all over the world struggle to save a dying Earth, the celebration on Earth Day today has gained a deeper significance. And the youth plays an important role not only in sustainable managing of our natural resources but also to bring about social change," Alvarez said.
The Fr. Neri Satur awardees are Fr. Ben Beltran, for animating community-based recycling in Smokey Mountain and for advocating youth empowerment; Sr. Luz Emmanuel, for introducing environmental studies in elementary and high school curricula and prototyping a Peace Eco-Park at Assumption Antipolo; DZBB-AM broadcaster Raul Virtudazo, for ecoconcerns discussions with the public in his various radio programs;
Soroptimist International, for women leadership in environmental conservation; the Mountaineering Federation of the Philippines, for ecofriendly adventuretourism; and Unilever Philippines, for its Clean Water advocacy in the rehabilitation of Laguna de Bay.
Posthumous awards were handed to Bantay Dagat fisher folks Vidasto Aguilar and Fenny Bulan of Daran, Samar and Serafin Abuyen of Giporlos, Samar who were killed in the defense of their rights accorded through DAO 17.
Fr. Neri Satur was an environmentalist Catholic priest assigned in Bukidnon killed by suspected illegal loggers some years back for his anti-illegal logging, pro-environment and pro-people stance when then Bishop and now Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Rosales was heading the diocese where Fr. Satur serves.
Guests were also led to a special "14 Stations of the Environmental Cross" by 14 schools-groups composing the Youth Groups for Earth Day 2004. …