Mindanao Students on Sustainable Development : Vermiculture and Climate Change

CURRENT SOCIETAL CONCERNS
3 November 2013

In this post, we will give space to my graduate students (Master in Sustainable Development Studies) in Mindanao State University (MSU) – General Santos City who were enrolled in a subject called Environmental Law, Policy and Ethics for this first semester of Academic Year 2013-2014.

The first one, by Ferly Queen De-ala reviews the methodology of vermiculture but in her reflection, applies the concepts she has read in class on feminist analysis of globalization by Susan Hawthorne in Wild Politics : Beyond Globalization (Women’s Studies International Forum 27 [2004] 243-259). This is something of a first in this subject and has actually enriched her reflection on what she has seen and observed as part of her practicum in the subject. The other paper is by Leonard V. Flores, a realistic, though somewhat critical review of the prospects of vermiculture in SOCSARGEN region, and he makes up for this with some suggestions on how to move forward. The third paper is from Princess Saharyl B. Basman, a unique and lively well-written take on the same subject, which is a surprise considering that the latter is a technical staff in one of the government offices in the region – one would have thought her technical training had dulled her writing style, but it did not.
There is another write-up included here, for its unique topic, a candid, critical review of the recent Resolution on Climate Change for General Santos City bu Kag. Beth Bagonc. The writer, Genory Vanz Alfasain, is also a student film-maker.

VERMICOMPOSTING: THE SUSTAINABLE AND
ORGANIC AGRICULTURE FOR A LIVING

Prepared by:

FERLY QUEEN R. DE-ALA
Graduate School, Mindanao State University
General Santos City, Philippines
Email: seaurchins1991@rocketmail.com
October 2013

I. HOW IT ALL STARTED?

It all started in the year 1990 when an acquaintance of Mrs. Mila Adam gave a handful of an African night crawler (Eudrilus eugeniae) in a coconut shell (“bagul”). Because of rumors and hearsay that these creatures have the capability of increasing the decomposition activity, microbial activity and nutrient availability of any degrading and organic matter such as biodegradable wastes, Mrs. Adam decided to make one by using agricultural wastes such as corn cobs, banana bracts, florets and leaf sheath and any other organic and fecal wastes available in the community.

II. WHAT IS VERMI-COMPOSTING?
Vermi-composting comes from the Latin word, vermis which means worms. It is basically a method in which worms are being used to recycle any organic and fecal matter into a nutrient-rich black soil, a soil which has all the components that promotes plant’s growth and stability and deeper root systems for drought tolerance and disease resistance (Arancon and Edwards, 2006). The term is sometimes inseparable to the term vermiculture or culture of worms because while doing composting, these eudrilids grows rapidly in numbers.

III. THE PROCESS
Here is the procedure of vermi-composting that Mrs. Adam personally formulated:

1. The first step is the vermiculture procedure. Prepare a small lot on your own size for your vermi-bed. This will serve as a shelter and nursery for your worms until they grow in numbers.

2. For Adam Family, they prepare a 19mx1.5m rectangular lot for vermi-composting. Banana leaves were used as the first layer of the compost.

3. The second layer of the compost is made of corn cobs.

4. Next layer is made of banana bracts, florets and its leaf sheath.

5. Followed by the leaves of “hagonoy” plant (Chromolaena odorata), which is known as weeds in many farm lands and madre cacao (Gliricidia sepium), known also for having a natural insecticides/pesticides on its leaves.

6. On its top is the layer of animal manure (carabao, goat, chicken or any available animal waste in the community).

7. At the topmost, is the layer of the African night crawler (Eudrilus eugeniae). This will increase the decomposition and microbial activity of the organic matter.

With Trichoderma
Trichoderma is a genus of fungi found in agricultural soils which is widely used for its known capability of plant diseases control. According to Mrs. Adam, using of Trichoderma sp. would also speed up the decomposition of organic matter. With the presence of these fungi, decomposition of organic wastes would take place for about 25 days.

Without Trichoderma
With the absence of the fungi Trichoderma, decomposition will take place for 60 days.

Note: It is also important to water the compost once every day for the worms to survive and to promote continuous decomposition activity of the organic matter.

As of now, women organization has been established to do this activity which of course headed by Mrs. Adam. This organization is known as Empowerment and Development for a Living (EDL).

Figure 1. From left to right (vermi-compost, African night crawler (Eudrilus eugeniae) and the product of the compost: organic fertilizer.

IV. REFLECTION

Most agencies are now addressing environmental degradation as part of their scope. Making regulations and additional environmental agencies (government institutions and academe) seems to be the only means.

However, all of those mentioned are considered to be futile if there is no enforcement mechanism. With the aid of advocacy campaign for environmental conservation, preservation and protection and willingness to help without expecting in return, consequences of environmental risks will be minimize by all means.

Vermi-composting is one of the known methods that are considered to be purely organic. This involves the use of worms to transform household/agricultural wastes into a nutrient-rich black soil which has all the components promoting the growth of any plants. As stated on Republic Act 10068 (AN ACT PROVIDING FOR THE DEVELOPMENT AND PROMOTION OF ORGANIC AGRICULTURE IN THE PHILIPPINES), Section 3, organic refers to the particular farming and processing system, described in the standards and not in the classical chemical sense. It is also synonymous to the term, biological and ecological which is more on the promotion of the environmental side. It is also clearly stated in Section 2 that organic farming would enrich the fertility of the soil, increase farm productivity, reduce pollution and destruction of the environment, prevent the depletion of natural resources, further protect the health of farmers, consumers, and the general public, and save on imported farm inputs. With its known positive results, there are still those who don’t care and still aims to have high profit. High profit may sometimes entail human health risks, scarcity of resources and environmental degradation that is why policy and law-makers able to formulate policy instruments that can be regulatory in nature (command-and-control) or in the form of economic incentives (taxes, fees, subsidies and charges). However, not all activities that aim to have profit resulted to negative effects.

In Purok 04, Brgy. Glamang, Polomolok South Cotabato, one of the residents name Mrs. Mila Adam practiced vermiculture (culture of worms for composting) and vermicomposting (making an organic fertilizer) for a living. These practices helped them not only to gain profit but also cultivated and fertilized their once arid land of small banana plantation biologically. Mrs. Adam, as one of the community leaders encouraged other people specifically fulltime housewives and “house-bands” to do the same, but because it is laborious and takes a long time to gain profit (approximately 6 months before harvest) which is divided to the number of members in the association, others will prefer to stay and do nothing in their homes. During our interview session, we also asked her reason in doing vermiculture and composting and I feel so proud because her answer is, to be an advocate of sustainable development (Wow!).

I remember the time when I was still working in an NGO when we conducted a focus group discussion with the typical farmers in SARANGANI. About 90% of them tell that pesticides and fertilizers really helped them grow and harvest their crops easily in a short period of time and other chemicals also helped them to get rid weeds off on their farms. However, when I asked them about organic farming, they said that when you are aiming to have a lot of harvest annually, fertilizers and pesticides are the best answers. With these statements, I feel so disappointed because they don’t really care as long as they earn money. Maybe they know the risks but because of the urge of the daily needs (and want), they still prefer to used techniques that are aiming for profitability regardless the risk on the natural system of the environment.

Marimba Ani’s work (2000) from Susan Hawthorne’s Wild Politics: Beyond Globalization identifies three forces that shape the culture: asili (“germinating matrix”), utamaroho (inspiration/motivation) and utamawazo (thoughts from the behaviors influencing utamaroho). Her work revealed that disconnection characterizes globalization. My interpretation is quite different with Marimba Ani’s work however the purposes of the triad forces may I think be put into application. During the time that an acquaintance had given the African night crawler worms together with the rumors and hearsay of having its potential to be the main actor of producing organic fertilizer, curiosity strikes Mrs. Adam. This is really her driving force to try vermi-culturing and composting. In this practice, curiosity is considered to be the asili because this drives Mrs. Adam to try if the rumors and hearsays are really true. After practicing and for how many months, it comes up to the result that all the rumors are really factual. In fact, there are some people who get some soil samples for nutrients analysis in-vitro and resulted positively reflecting its capability to be a perfect substitute to fertilizers and pesticides.

After some interviews, Mrs. Adam revealed that her inspirations (utamaroho) in doing so are the (1) changing world and; (2) her family. She affirmed that we are in the changing world because for how many years of her existence, she witnessed changes from environmental landscape, economic cycle, social needs and standards of the people and weather patterns which are very evident and because of those changes in the world, awakes her consciousness that she must do something now. One of those is vermiculture and composting and encouraging the people to do the same. However, not all people think the same way she thinks so most of the time she is disregarded. The second inspiration she has is her family. This also encourages her to do vermiculture for them to sustain their basic and financial needs and also for them (since it is organic) not to suffer from the consequences of the changing world in the next few years. Because of the inspirations she had, her thoughts (utamawazo) were established that organic farming are essential to (1) lessen the environmental impacts of chemicals from agricultural activities, and (2) to reduce/lessen her contributions to climate change.

I really felt so amazed with this wonderful woman of how she thinks of what will happen in the future and how she cares about her family. If all the people are thinking like this, the world will be a desirable place to live.

V. REFERENCES
Ani, Marimba (2000). Yurugu: An African-centered critique of European cultural thought and behavior. Trenton, NJ7 Africa World Press.
Hawthorne, S. (2004). Wild Politics: Beyond Globalization. Department of Communication, Culture and Languages, Victoria University, St. Albans Campus, Melbourne, Australia. Women’s Studies International Forum 27 (2004) 243– 259
Arancon and Edwards, (2006).

 

UNSUSTAINABLE PURSUIT OF PHILIPPINES’ VERMICULTURE

LEONARD VILLANUEVA FLORES
Sustainable Development Studies, Graduate School, Mindanao State University
General Santos City, Philippines
October 2013
E-mail: lenardjoel@yahoo.com

.
We need to pursue vermiculture undertakings. However, this initiative will not generally succeed in the Philippines.

Vermiculture is the utilization of some species of earthworm to make vermicompost which is a nutrient-rich, natural fertilizer and soil conditioner, which is the end-product of the breakdown of organic matter. This is one of those sustainable agriculture methods which are being promoted today, not only in the Philippines but around the agricultural world.

Sustainable agriculture can help fight world hunger and some of its related challenges, including pesticide contamination. Pesticides used in conventional farming get into bodies of water, suffocate aquatic plants and animals, and accumulate in the food chain, eventually contaminating plants and animals that are consumed by humans and throwing off the environmental balance.

Sustainable agriculture methods, which include organic farming, are providing satisfying results for many small-scale farmers around the world. Accordingly, because farmers who practice sustainable agriculture methods used few or no pesticides, they can avoid that expense. Organic farming also requires less water, because soils that are high in organic material are such more efficient at holding water than is poorer soil. High-quality soil is better able to deal with drought conditions. To date, thousands of advocates and farmers themselves have contributed to our understanding of what sustainable systems are, and all share a vision of “farming with nature” and agro-ecology that promotes biodiversity, recycles plants nutrients, protects soil erosion, conserves and protects water, uses minimum tillage, and integrates crop and livestock enterprises on the farm.

But no matter how elegant the systems or how accomplished the farmer, no agriculture is sustainable if it is not also profitable and able to provide a healthy family income and a good quality of life.

Vermiculture as an approach to achieve poverty reduction and ecological integrity.

Although chemical fertilizers can replace soil nutrients that are removed when the crop is harvested, they do not replace the organic matter necessary to maintain soil texture, pH, and biotic richness. Thus, the need to use the products of vermiculture farming.

Production of vermicast is gaining popularity as an organic fertilizer. A vermin-bed, one meter by five meters and a meter deep, can produce 17 to 30 bags every two-month cycle. Each bed is stocked with several kilos of earthworms (african night crawlers) that feed on organic materials like vegetable left-overs, other crop by-products and animal manure.

The Philippine National Action Plan (NAP) for FY 2010-2020 included sustainable agriculture and natural resources based livelihood development among the long-term strategic plan’s programs. Specifically, this will provide livelihoods in the rural areas and improve their resilience to land degradation and climate change.

Another program identified in the Philippine NAP is the sustainable use and management of ecosystems. This is to prevent depletion and degradation of natural resources and protect biodiversity through practices that consider these resources as interdependent ecosystems.

The above NAP strategies have identified vermiculture farming as a component activity.

In the long shot, the country is harmonizing their commitment to various conventions [Climate Change (CC)-UNFCCC; Desertification, Land Degradation and Drought (DLDD)-UNCCD; and Biodiversity (BD)-UNCBD] ultimately to attain poverty reduction and ecological integrity.

Implementation of vermiculture project in the Philippines.

Vermiculture can be an especially useful practice in developing countries where fertilizer is harder to obtain. It can be used to convert animal waste, food scraps, and other dead organic matter into a nutrient rich fertilizer. This can ultimately be used to fertilize a home garden and produce a greater quality and quantity of food for the family.

The Philippines’ Department of Agriculture (DA) has been pushing for the use of vermicast (mixture of earthworm wastes and bedding materials) as an organic fertilizer. This is part of the agency’s organic agriculture project. The existing program cover components that include financial subsidy, financing assistance, techno-demo farm, education development, community organizing, increased material capacity, and third-party certification.

Actually, various literatures in the Philippines have already disclosed experiences of some local organic farmers in areas like Lipa City and Zamboanga del Sur as to the benefits of organic farming particularly with the use of vermiculture products.

However, the aforementioned discussions are just ideal.
Because in the Philippines, fertilizers are still abundant and so are pesticides.
Accordingly, there are many reasons why fertilizers and pesticides are so widely used until now.

The use of pesticides has increased, at least in the short term, in order to increase the amount of food that can be grown in many parts of the country. Farmers, grain-storage operators, and the food industry continually seek to reduce the loss of crops caused by pests. Many argued that a retreat from dependence on pesticides would certainly reduce the amount of food produced. Even agricultural planners are not likely to suggest changes in pesticide use that would result in malnutrition and starvation for many of their inhabitants.

The economic value of pesticides is another reason they are used so extensively. The cost of pesticides is more than offset by increased yields and profits for the farmer. In addition, the production and distribution of pesticides and fertilizers is big business. Companies have spent millions of dollars developing a pesticide and fertilizers are going to argue very strongly for its continued use. Since farmers and agrochemical interests have a powerful voice in the government, they have successfully lobbied for continued use of these products.

One more reason for extensive pesticide use is that many health problems are currently impossible to control without insecticides. This is particularly true in areas of the world like the Philippines where insect-borne diseases would cause widespread public health consequences if insecticides were not used.

Economies of scale and vermiculture trade implications.

To date, there is no guaranteed assurance for market of vermicompost in the Philippines. While, there is an increasing campaign for organic farming, there is not much government push as to making it a mandatory. Hence, organic farming is still struggling to thrive. Among the obvious consequences is the effect to pricing of vermiculture products.

The price of vermicompost is very erratic. Before, its sells for P200 to P250 per 40-kilo bag of vermicast. Recently, it reaches as low as P100 per bag. Trading of vermicompost is still subject to whims and caprices not only of traders but even those users of vermicasts.

The factors of pricing and trading are blows to prospective vermiculture farmers. They will be tempted to look for other activities that would give them not only immediate income for their daily survival but sustainability of their economic undertakings.

It is not only the law of demand and supply that affects the price but the quality of vermicompost as well. Products of vermiculture farming vary its quality from the different producers. More often the effectiveness of using vermicompost is associated with its source.

From the socio-economic point of view, continued subsidy from the government has its consequence to the production of vermicast as well. Normally, once the assistance ended and so is the project.

Moreover, another concern about organically grown food is its cost to the consumer. While they can be thought of less expensive in the long run, the current cost of organic products is actually more expensive. Organic certification is also very costly which is being added to its production expense. The organic market, while growing, is still limited by low supply, so prices are higher than they might otherwise be.

In addition, vermiculture farming and most organic food is produced by smaller farms that do not have the economics of large-scale industrial agribusiness.

Vermiculture producers in the Philippines literally come and go. Usually, they operate only upon the urging of the government or that opportunities of financial assistance unexpectedly knock the door of co-operators/beneficiaries. Because of unpreparedness or not really entrepreneur-mindset operators, most simply died down in just less years of projected productive operation.

Needed support and initiatives

Transformed Government Assistance
Since the government already recognized vermiculture among the strategies to demonstrate the country’s commitment to climate change adaptation and sustainable agriculture, the authorities should not encourage people to implement organic farming because of subsidies and financing assistance but they should rather impress among the stakeholders the environmental-friendly-based effort for food security, natural resources productivity and ecosystem stability.

Instead of monetary assistance, the government may invest on quad-media campaign zeroing on sustainable development component. Most of the subsidies, moreso grants provided by the government just went failure. A lot of intended co-operators and beneficiaries were not able to maximize the objectives of these projects. Worst, these kinds of projects even became a vehicle of greediness by corrupt government officials through ghost projects or ghost beneficiaries, just like that of the Napoles-PDAF scam.
Equally important, the local government units should step up their campaigns for sustainable agriculture. If possible, the Philippines either through the line agencies concerned or local governments should extend financial assistance only after the co-operator will commit equal equity of their own.

The government should also set-up success monitoring tool for those vermiculture projects. There should be a sustaining benchmark to determine whether this initiative is worth government investments.

Lastly, the government should have a policy towards production of chemical-based fertilizers and pesticides. Today, the producing companies’ leverage is too strong that organic farming is doomed and will never succeed.

Scaling Up – Business Approach
Given that sustainable development is not only government’s task or obligation, the private sector particularly the business group could also push for their contribution to sustainable agriculture and food security consistent to general goal of ecological balance.

While it’s ideal to start small but if the society will collectively press on for wider and bigger effect of sustainable agriculture, another approach is to scale up the production. This will encourage competition among large-scale agri-based companies.

Institutional Markets
A local supermarket may also carry organic foods. They should provide not only small area or shelves where one can find displayed organic products but should also include campaign in their promotional collaterals and marketing advertisements.

Individual Effort
Nonetheless, one can support sustainable agriculture by growing his own food in whatever space they have and by buying organic foods at food coops, natural food stores, or farmer markets.

Acknowledgment:
Special thanks to Atty. Elpidio V. Peria of BITS Policy Center, Inc. and Ms. Mila Tuban Adam of Earth Care Group – Empowerment Development for a Living (ADL) for their valuable insights and contribution. An actual visit to vermiculture project at Barangay Glamang, Polomolok, South Cotabato was undertaken through their initiatives. Worth to mention also is the document access provided by Andrew Kristian G. Baliton of the Department of Agriculture Regional Office No. 12. The author also did visits to vermiculture farms where the operators are likewise clients of the various offices of Department of Trade and Industry in SOCCSKSARGEN region.

References:
Basically, this paper is a product of an academic exercise referred from materials culled during the entire 1st semester of S.Y. 2013-2014 at the Graduate School of the Mindanao State University – General Santos City.

Disclaimer:
A scholarly point of view only of a student in sustainable development studies, nonetheless, it could be used for consideration of government authorities, policy makers and other stakeholders.

 

MONEY IN WORMS

INTRODUCTION

Vermiculture or worm farming is the utilization of species of earthworms such as Eisenia fetida (commonly known as red wiggler, brandling, or manure worm), E. foetida, and Lumbricus rubellus to make Vermicompost (aka Worm Compost, Vermicast, Worm Castings, Worm Poop, Worm Humus or Worm Manure), which is a nutrient-rich, natural fertilizer and soil conditioner, which is the end-product of the breakdown of organic matter. But for the case of Mrs. Mila Adam (the owner of the worm farming in Glamang, General Santos City) she started with culturing only 25 pieces of African Nightcrawlers (Eisenia euginae or Eudrilus eugeniae) which was only given to her. There are 4000 species of earthworms worldwide and 400 of them can be found in our country. African Nightcrawlers are classified as belonging to the family annelida which means segmented body and oligochaeta which means few bristles. They breathe through their skin, hermaphroditic (both have female and male sex organs) but they still need to mate with other worms at least once in their lifetime to start the reproduction process. They can lay at least 3-7 eggs a week that can hatch in 2 weeks and mature in 2 months with a life span of 1-2 years. The earthworm manure (vermicasts) is widely known as the most odorless organic fertilizer in the world. In China, the meaning of earthworm is “Angels of the Earth”. Moreover, this species are cold blooded, thrives best in tropical areas like Philippines, lives and reproduce at 24-28 ᴼ C with a moisture of 40 – 80% which are just enough for the waste material can absurd without any water drops. Because too much water will kill them like wise with too dry places.

METHODOLOGY

In culturing worms, you should have a worm beds. Mrs. Mila Adam has 3 worm beds made up of wood. Other worm farmers make use of cow/carabao manures but Mrs. Adam uses Chicken manure, it will then be mixed up with other organic wastes like rotten veggies, fruits, rice hays, any biodegradable wastes except those wastes that are rich in oils and fats it will kill them. Water is very vital on the survival of the earthworms. Regular watering of the beds is done depending on the climate we have. If its summer the soil are so hot so frequent watering of the beds are done. If the climate is just fine watering them is controlled (too much water will drown the worms). The beds are then secured by covering them with dried leaves of coconut to prevent predators (chickens, snake, insects, and frogs) from eating the worms. After 6 months, during harvesting time, vermicasts were collected. They can harvest at least 100 sacks per beds and sells them at 200 pesos per sack. More or less at 3 beds they can earn 60 thousand pesos (20 thousand/bed). They deliver the fertilizers to their client DOLE Company. And now they still strive for continued excellence.

Suitable organic matters that can be added to the manure coffee grounds with filter and tea bags , all fruits and vegetables, including rinds and cores , egg shells, leaves and grass clippings , beans, rice, and other cooked grains, bread and crackers.

Worm bed

Sample of the earthworm being raised.

vermicasts

REACTION

Money in worms is very fascinating indeed. Who could have thought that a slimy, yucky, creature could be a source of thousands of income with a very cheap investment? Nowadays, people are into businesses, but it is always been a brainstorming for those people who wants to start a business on what kind of business should they indulge with (I am one of them). Especially now, our country is facing a lot of financial issues. While there are so many so-called money strategists who are creeping around online offering too good to be true a return investments. Worm farming never exist on their “vocabulary”. I have searched through the internet the essence of this worm farming, and it is good to know that you could culture these species even if you have a little space on your place. For some, they make use of plastic containers to raise the species. This only proves that vermiculture can be started at a big or small investment depending on your preference. Just keeping the quote “If there’s a will, there’s a way”. Online you can see marketing of worms being sale up to 400 -500php per kilo. If you invest to this kind of business (having the idea of trying it… soon!) it will make a good profit, and could help in eliminating household wastes, organic wastes (animal manures) and other wastes which our country is having problem with. It may be ironic to think that we have this prevailing price of these species and its castings the availability of its worm itself is very difficult to find. Interesting! Nowadays, as time passes by different cases of diseases are discovered, which is found out to be caused of the kind of lifestyles we are into, kind of foods we eat, how it has been prepared and so forth. That’s why we can’t blame our fellow ones driven to be particular on agricultural products that are being marketed in the industry. Because a lot of Agri-companies make use of inorganic fertilizers, which studies proved that too much exposure to these kinds of chemicals contained in the commercialized fertilizers are main causes of cancers or other intrusive diseases. That’s why promoting organic agricultural products are very helpful for the welfare of everybody. So nevertheless, sooner or later, vermiculture will become the power source of organic farming in our country. It will become a feasible project for everyone which requires minimal investment and at low risk, and will be a best tool in mitigating the garbage problem in our country. And since a lot of issues are being brought up to our government regarding the funds on fertilizers for the farmers, this vermiculture is the easiest way to solve the problem. If I would be the farmer I will replace this vermicasts to the inorganic fertilizers being issued by the government which takes time to be at hand and very limited for the plants.

Submitted by: Princess Saharyl B. Basman

 

Kagawad Beth Bagonoc and her Climate Change Resolution

By Genory Vanz S. Alfasain

Climate Change was the main topic of Hon. Elizabeth B. Bagonoc in her Privilege Speech during the 12th Regular Session of the 17th Sangguniang Panlungsod last September 24, 2013 in General Santos City.

In her speech, she discussed the adverse effect of climate change in the world. Like the sea ice is disappearing faster than expected, water supplies are increasingly at risk from extreme climate events (such as droughts and floods), and disasters have become deadlier. She also cited that the Philippines is considered as one of the most disaster prone countries in the world. She also presented the flood prone barangays in GenSan. She also asserted that this is now the right time for the Local Government Unit of General Santos City to demonstrate its deep commitment to mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change. At the later part of her speech, she filed three resolutions: 1) for the conduct a SOCSARGEN CLIMATE CHANGE SUMMIT, 2) for the CREATION OF THE TECHNICAL WORKING GROUP ON CLIMATE CHANGE, 3) for expression of strong SUPPORT TO “RECLAIM POWER: GLOBAL MONTH ACTION ON ENERGY”.

If you dissect her resolution, you may ask lots of questions. Is her resolution will hinder economic growth in the region? Is it for compliance in international agreements for climate change mitigation or just an ostentatious display for political advancement? With the negotiations, actions and implementations done by our government in mitigating climate change, you cannot help but be skeptical.

The overlapping of laws and polices cast doubt over the government’s determination to adapt and mitigate climate change. For example, the government puts an effort to combat deforestation and destruction of our ecosystem yet the Mining Act of 1995 promotes the large-scale mining. Our government makes policies without really analyzing its impact in our country. Moreover, it contributes to the confusion of the public. Despite the effort of our government, some of us still don’t have idea about climate change.

This is challenge for our local policy makers on how this resolution will be implemented. It should put into consideration the livelihood of its constituents, economic and social development, adequate energy, infrastructure and proper education campaign about climate change.

If her resolution will be approved, I hope that the Technical Working Group (TWG) on Climate Change will be more open to the public. What I mean is that it should have proper dissemination of information with regards to policy making and education campaign. It should cover not only in urban areas but also in rural areas. I hope their information dissemination would reach all levels – students, professionals, government officials, businessmen or even to the ordinary citizens. The TWG should not be that intimidating to the public.

It should not block an ordinary citizen to raise his/her concern with regards to the environment. TWG should institutionalize a consultative mechanism for accountability and transparency to prevent “random and selective participation”.

It should also be a good collaboration with different sectors. Various agencies can be tap to help solve this problem, for example, the Academe for technical knowledge; NGOs for training and capacity building; private institutions for financial support. The solution to building a climate-resilient nation lies in a foundation of good governance, the people’s sovereign control over their natural resources, and the rights of nations to genuine development.

Councilor Bagonoc’s resolution is a good initiative for the city. It is a good investment for GenSan because climate change has a direct and immediate impact on development. Through this initiative, the city will be prepared in the upcoming disasters. I hope this good action will not be politicize and use for political advancement.

Climate Change is not a new issue. It becomes an overrated topic that is still debatable up to this time. Everyone knows it and its impact on this planet. The question remains on how the people should respond to this phenomenon. Are we going to wait for its effects to happen? Or are we going to find the solutions to lessen its impact on this planet? The solution lies on us.

—————————-end of write-ups—————————————————–

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