Villanueva lass gets queen’s welcome

Inquirer Libre - Davao - - PANGUNAHING PAHINA - By Jigger J. Jerusalem

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY–She may have won a national pageant but reigning Miss Philippines-Fire 2017 Nellza Mortola-Bautista keeps her hometown of Villanueva, Misamis Oriental closer to her heart when she accepted the invitation of the municipal government to be its ambassadress for environment.

“I’m honored and it’s really a privilege for me to be my town’s ambassadress for environment,” Bautista said.

She said it was her desire ever since to showcase Villanueva to the whole country.

“I am looking forward to collaborating with Mayor Jennie Rosalie [on environmental programs],” Bautista added.

One of the most important practices she can share to her town mates, she said, is the solid waste management through segregation of wastes at the household level.

As the industrial capital of Misamis Oriental, Villanueva, about 29.4 kilometers east of this city, boasts of industrial plants, processing sites and manufacturing firms, but even with their presence, Bautista said the town has maintained its ecological balance owing to the local government’s strict implementation of environmental laws.

“The companies here are compliant, and they are being constantly monitored [by experts and the local government unit],” Bautista said, adding that just recently the mayor ordered the closure of a company for failing to comply with environmental regulations.

Bautista, who arrived from Manila, was accorded with a grandiose welcome upon her homecoming on Aug. 25.

Bautista is the only candidate from Mindanao who made it to the final round of this year’s Miss Philippines-Earth pageant.

In her short message to her town mates, Bautista has urged the youth, parents and all members of the community help the local government in its campaign on proper waste management.

“Mother Earth can live without us, but we cannot live without Mother Earth,” she added.

During her talk, Bautista thanked the mayor, Rep. Juliette Uy of the second district of Misamis Oriental, and her husband Julio Uy, former Villanueva mayor, for their strong support to her even before the pageant competition.

For her part, Uy said she was “happy because Nellza won the title that has something to do with the environment and I hope [she] can collaborate with our advocacy to properly implement the Solid Waste Management program of the government as mandated under Republic Act 9003.”

RA 9003, otherwise known as an act providing for an ecological solid waste management program, creating the necessary institutional mechanisms and incentives, declaring certain acts prohibited and providing penalties, appropriating funds therefor, and for other purposes, became into law in 2001.

Uy said Villanueva is experiencing difficulties in its garbage disposal after the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) ordered the town’s garbage facility in Barangay San Martin closed.

With its closure, the mayor has encouraged the residents to practice proper waste disposal at home.

“The garbage is not only the problem of the local government units, but it is the problem of everybody,” Uy said.

Uy was also grateful to Bautista for bringing honor and pride to the people Villanueva.

“That little town of Villanueva is known locally, if not internationally, because of Nellza,” she said.

She said it was Bautista’s positive attitude and character that made her won the crown.

JIGGER J. JERUSALEM

NELLZA Bautista, 2017 Miss Philippines-Fire, receives a warm welcome from her town mates during her homecoming in Villanueva, Misamis Oriental.

PHOTOS BY RICHARD REYES

NELLZA Bautista is the only candidate from Mindanao who made it to the final round of this year ’s Miss Philippines-Earth pageant. She was proclaimed Miss Philippines-Fire.

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