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En­vi­ron­ment Man­age­ment Of­fice Head Wil­fred Ra­mon Peñalosa (cen­ter) re­ceives the Allen S. Quimpo Cli­mate Re­al­ity Lead­er­ship for Gov­er­nance Award for Ne­gros Oc­ci­den­tal from The Cli­mate Re­al­ity Project Philip­pines head Rodne Galicha (right), Cli­mate Change Com­mis­sioner Rachel Her­era (sec­ond from right), and rep­re­sen­ta­tives of Quimpo fam­ily in rites held at the Na­tional Mu­seum of Nat­u­ral His­tory in Manila Mon­day night.

MANILA - The prov­inces of Ne­gros Oc­ci­den­tal and Ne­gros Ori­en­tal were among the cham­pi­ons of en­vi­ron­men­tal causes and movers of cli­mate change mit­i­ga­tion rec­og­nized by The Cli­mate Re­al­ity Project dur­ing its 2018 Lead­er­ship Awards held at the Na­tional Mu­seum of Nat­u­ral His­tory here Mon­day night.

The two prov­inces re­ceived the Allen S. Quimpo Cli­mate Lead­er­ship for Gov­er­nance Memo­rial Award, which is given to all lo­cal gov­ern­ment units (LGUS) in the coun­try com­mit­ted to em­brace re­new­able en­ergy and cur­rently host­ing re­new­able en­ergy (RE) plants and farms in their re­spec­tive lo­cal­i­ties.

For Ne­gros Oc­ci­den­tal, the award was re­ceived by Provin­cial En­vi­ron­ment Man­age­ment Of­fice (Pemo) head Wil­fred Ra­mon Peñalosa from Cli­mate Re­al­ity Project Philip­pines head

Rodne Galicha and Com­mis­sioner Rachel Her­era of the Cli­mate Change Com­mis­sion along with the Quimpo fam­ily.

Peñalosa, at the side­lines of the award­ing rites, said the award rec­og­nizes the ef­fort of the provin­cial gov­ern­ment as well as its con­sis­tent stand on en­vi­ron­ment con­ser­va­tion, pro­tec­tion, re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion, and restora­tion.

Peñalosa said this is also the re­sult of the syn­ergy of the gov­ern­ment, me­dia, academe, and church in terms of push­ing for en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­grams that will im­pact the en­tire prov­ince.

“What is re­ally more ev­i­dent is the co­op­er­a­tion among all dif­fer­ent sec­tors in terms of ad­vo­cat­ing for a greener en­vi­ron­ment for Ne­gros,” he said, adding that “in­volv­ing more peo­ple is some­thing that we need to fur­ther work­out.”

The Pemo head also stressed that more sec­tors and peo­ple work­ing to­gether for the con­ser­va­tion, pro­tec­tion, and restora­tion of the en­vi­ron­ment will re­sult in big­ger rip­ples of im­pact.

When asked about the en­try of coal-fired power plant in the prov­ince, Peñalosa said Gov­er­nor Al­fredo Marañon Jr. al­ready made a stand even two to three years ago that they want a green en­ergy devel­op­ment pro­gram for Ne­gros Oc­ci­den­tal.

“We are not pre­vent­ing them from ap­ply­ing, but the plan of the gov­er­nor is re­ally to push for a green prov­ince,” he added.

It can be re­called that San Miguel Cor­po­ra­tion has ex­pressed its in­ten­tion to put up a coal-fired power plant in two barangays of San Car­los City.

Vice Gov­er­nor Eu­ge­nio Jose Lac­son con­firmed that, in fact, the Sang­gu­ni­ang Pan­lung­sod has al­ready ap­proved a res­o­lu­tion en­dors­ing the project. Though, it has not yet reached the Provin­cial Board.

Now on its sec­ond year, the ac­tiv­ity is spear­headed by the Philip­pine mis­sion of The Cli­mate Re­al­ity Project, the pi­o­neer­ing non-profit or­ga­ni­za­tion es­tab­lished by world-renowned cli­mate pro­po­nent No­bel Lau­re­ate and for­mer United States vice pres­i­dent Al Gore.

The Cli­mate Re­al­ity Lead­er­ship Awards is the group’s lat­est flag­ship ad­vo­cacy pro­gram aside from its Let’s Talk Cleaner En­ergy cam­paign and other high-level cli­mate pol­icy lob­by­ing and com­mu­nity em­pow­er­ment ini­tia­tives in the grass­roots and youth sec­tors.

Galicha, an en­vi­ron­men­tal­ist and hu­man rights ad­vo­cate, told Sunstar Ba­colod that the pro­gram rec­og­nizes out­stand­ing Filipino in­di­vid­u­als, or­ga­ni­za­tions, net­works and ini­tia­tives that have been cat­alyz­ing global so­lu­tions to the cli­mate cri­sis by mak­ing the ur­gent ac­tion a ne­ces­sity across ev­ery level of so­ci­ety.

“We sa­lute these in­di­vid­u­als and or­ga­ni­za­tions for tak­ing on the chal­lenge of mit­i­gat­ing global warm­ing and cli­mate change, not just through strong op­po­si­tion against de­struc­tive en­vi­ron­men­tal prac­tices but also through proac­tive so­lu­tions that en­sure sus­tain­able progress for the cur­rent and fu­ture gen­er­a­tions,” he added.

For Ne­gros Ori­en­tal, the award was re­ceived by Gov­er­nor Roel Deg­amo who said that the recog­ni­tion boosts the morale of lo­cal leg­is­la­tors to re­ally find time to pro­tect the en­vi­ron­ment.

Deg­amo, in his speech, took pride that the Sang­gu­ni­ang Pan­lalaw­igan of Ne­gros Ori­en­tal has al­ready adapted Ex­ec­u­tive Or­der No. 9 pre­vent­ing the en­try of coal-fired power plants in the prov­ince.

He ap­pealed to other LGUS to fol­low the move be­fore it gets too late, stress­ing that en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion

and con­ser­va­tion is a must.

“Even un­der a fed­eral form gov­ern­ment, for as long as we are still part of it, I will con­tinue to op­pose coal-fired power plants in the re­gion. It is re­ally bad for the en­vi­ron­ment,” Deg­amo added.

The Mu­nic­i­pal Gov­ern­ment of Va­len­cia in Ne­gros Ori­en­tal also re­ceived the Allen S. Quimpo Cli­mate Lead­er­ship for Gov­er­nance Memo­rial Award.

Aside from Ne­gros LGUS, four Negrenses were also rec­og­nized by The Cli­mate Re­al­ity Project for do­ing en­vi­ron­ment pro­tec­tion and con­ser­va­tion mea­sures and en­deav­ors in their re­spec­tive fields.

Bishop Ger­ardo Almi­naza of the Dio­cese of San Car­los re­ceived the Lun­tiang Panagti­tipon Award while Ar­turo Al­varez, na­tional pro­gram di­rec­tor of Let’s Do It Philip­pines, was given the Miguel R. Ma­galang Cli­mate Re­al­ity Project Memo­rial Award.

Other Negrenses in­clud­ing colum­nist and en­vi­ron­ment ad­vo­cate Errol Abada Ga­tum­bato and Jolly Gar­iando, prin­ci­pal of Florentino Galang Sr. Na­tional High School in Ka­bankalan City, were also rec­og­nized as nom­i­nees.

Almi­naza, who ear­lier signed a po­si­tion pa­per op­pos­ing the plan to put up a 300megawatt coal plant in San Car­los, said the award came at a time when there is a need for wider pub­lic sup­port for the col­lec­tive stand to keep the whole Ne­gros Is­land green, en­vi­ron­ment-friendly and coal­free.

Almi­naza is ap­peal­ing to the vot­ers to do all they can to make all can­di­dates know that “it is our de­mand” to keep the is­land coal-free and com­mit­ted to re­spect­ing the vi­sion and re­spon­si­bil­ity for the next gen­er­a­tion.

“I make a pas­sion­ate plea to the Chris­tian con­science, kind heart and good will of our gov­ern­ment lead­ers, politi­cians run­ning for pub­lic of­fice, big landown­ers and busi­ness peo­ple to put our planet and peo­ple first be­fore profit,” he said, adding that “they should use their power, au­thor­ity and wealth in in­vest­ments that will safe­guard and pro­tect our com­mon home - our en­vi­ron­ment.”

More­over, the seven re­cip­i­ents from Ne­gros are just among the awardees and nom­i­nees from all over the coun­try this year.

Gore, in a state­ment, con­grat­u­lated them for be­ing an in­spi­ra­tion for him to keep push­ing ahead in the col­lec­tive fight to solve the cli­mate cri­sis.

“Last month, the world’s lead­ing sci­en­tific ex­perts pro­vided yet an­other stark re­minder that we must act ur­gently to tran­si­tion away from an econ­omy based on fos­sil fu­els and to­ward a sus­tain­able fu­ture,” Gore said.

He added that “with the Paris Agree­ment, we chose the right path for­ward to achieve a global clean en­ergy econ­omy, but now we have to ratchet up these com­mit­ments and act with greater ur­gency.”*

Dio­cese of San Car­los Bishop Ger­ardo Almi­naza (cen­ter) re­ceives the “Lun­tiang Panagti­tipon” Award from The Cli­mate Re­al­ity Project Philip­pines of­fi­cials led by head Rodne Galicha (left) in rites held at the Na­tional Mu­seum of Nat­u­ral His­tory in Manila Mon­day night.

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