Philippines - Cebu Environmental Awareness & Education...



Cebu Environmental Awareness - Philippines

The first development NGO of the Philippines, the Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement (PRRM at www.prrm.org), provides an integrated program of education, livelihood, health, habitat, environment, and governance in order to empower communities in the planning, advocacy and implementation of sustainable development.

The Negros Forests and Ecological Foundation, Inc. (NFEFI at: www.negrosforests.org) has a less formal strategy of educating local citizens on environmental topics, that is, through puppet shows, interactive workshops, seminars, and camps.

The Foundation’s primary goal, through camps, is to “enhance and strengthen” the capability of the bantay bukid (forest watchers), local leaders, including the beneficiaries of the Integrated Social Forestry (ISF) program holders settling within the protected zone of the North Negros Natural Park.

Main topics being taught during the camps range from basic ecology, concepts of biodiversity, climate change, and solid waste management to introduction of environmental laws that could “raise awareness among the public and generate pressure on leaders to curb the unprecedented loss in biodiversity” (see NFEFI website).


Indigenous People's Human Rights - Cebu Environmental Awareness

While most of the aforementioned NGOs provide educational materials related with environmental laws and policies for biodiversity preservation, the Sibuyan Island Sentinels League for Environment, Inc. (Sibuyan ISLE at: www.sibuyan.com) promotes knowledge on the indigenous people’s basic human rights.

The Islanders struggle to protect and defend their environment from irresponsible mining corporations by educating the inhabitants about the extent of biodiversity that supports all living things inhabiting the island.

Defending and protecting the rights of indigenous people through ecological education could be the only choice they have to pressure government agencies for environmental protection and exploitation from devious mining companies.


Hopes for Change in Behavior of People

Through the activities we just described, surely changes in behavior happen to people who are connected although not immediately but in the long run through their future decision-making.

The advantages and effects of undergoing these activities is that the attendee can have real-life experience of environmental issues than can...

  • convince and change his/her behavior;
  • can accumulate practical knowledge based on hands-on experiences that create a lasting impression;
  • can acquire a scientific-based education which is more convincing and interesting; and,
  • can replace ignorance or a lack of information about environmental concerns, which is one reason people are complacent vis-a-vis crucial aspects in public participation and activism.

Promoting (Cebu) Environmental Awareness & Education

In conclusion, NGO activities promoting environmental education and awareness to both local and citizens at a national level is the beginning of challenging and affecting government laws and policies on environment-related issues.

Gaining concrete knowledge and understanding of the issues concerning the most pressing ecological problems incite people to raise their voice in unison urging government agencies and officials to either establish life-saving policies or scrap the existing life-threatening ones.

Most civil society organizations demand some policies to be scrapped, such as the revitalizing of mining and commercial logging acts, rather than the creation of other unnecessary policies.


Philippines - Cebu Environmental Awareness

The effects or influences brought about by this category of activities are the environmental policies contained in the policy for environmental education at all levels of education in the country.

Another one could be the establishment of Indigenous People’s Rights Act (IPRA), which provides indigenous groups the right to participate in making decisions concerning their land and livelihood.

Other policies include the strengthening of environmental laws, and the dissemination and reward system (reporting illegal environmental activities to authorities).

Influencing communities, POs, and policymakers through this category is vital for NGOs to achieve, a sense that their support can make favorable policy outcomes more possible.

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