2nd Ecological Summit:State of the Philippine Environment

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“When the last tree is cut, when the last river has been poisoned, when the last fish has been caught, then we will find out that we can’t eat money.”

This proverb reminds us that money is nothing when the world we live in is gone. This has been the meat of the talks in the 2nd Ecological summit held at the University of Batangas, November 26, 2013.

Sponsored by the Batangas Coastal Resources Management Foundation and the Archdiocesan Ministry on Environment, this year’s summit aims to provide awareness of the state of our Philippine environment with focus on Batangas Province.

The summit started with a mass celebrated by His Excellency Archbishop Ramon Arguelles together with different parish priests from the province. In his homily he encouraged the priests to influence their parishioners to become protectors of the environment.

Governor Vilma Santos-Recto was also present to give the state of the province report in terms of our environment. In her speech she disclosed that her crusade to protect the natural environment specifically our lakes and waters cannot be done by herself alone she needs the full support of the local government and her constituents as well to vigilantly stop irresponsible dumping of wastes in the Taal lake which is the main reason for the alarming coliform bacteria count in the waters of some municipalities.

Guest speaker Dr. Wilfredo Licuanan a professor from De La Salle University and in charge of the Br. Alfred Shields FSC Ocean Research Center shed light on the state of our Philippine Coral Reefs. He informed the audience that the Philippines is very fortunate in terms of biodiversity. We have a lot of aquatic species in the archipelago, but the problem is our dying coral reefs. He said that coral reefs present in the area of the DLSU marine observatory in Lian, Batangas will be non-existent in ten years. Evidence of which is the continuous bleaching of these corals. This only means that the coral reef is dying since they are nutrient deprived because of the increase in temperature of our waters an adverse effect of global warming.

Another invited speaker, Dr. Angelina P. Galang of the Green Convergence for Safe Food, Healthy Environment and Sustainable Economy discussed the state of the Philippine Environment. She mentioned the legal bases to protect our environment but we need to lobby for other laws and one that struck the interest of the audience is the GMO or the Genetically Modified Organisms used in processed food. Dr. Galang urged the audience to eat organic, local and healthy food which is readily available. By eating local we are patronizing our own products and we improve our health. GMOs are organisms which have been genetically altered it can involve mutation, insertion, or deletion of genes. She stressed that people have to be careful of their food intake since studies have shown that certain GMOs could cause cancer.

The 2nd Ecological summit was well attended by priests and nuns, students, faculty members, NGOs, members of the LGU and private companies. LPU sent more than a hundred participants to this summit which ended with a pledge of commitment for the environment. LPU-Batangas is a long-time advocate of environmental activities and a runner-up in the search for sustainable and eco-friendly schools.

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